Skip to main content

Full text of "The History of Human Marriage"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on Hbrary shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/| 

-^<jc^- or ^ - tci. .<. J 


h 4* 

















The Right of Transiation and Reproduction is Reserved 


y * ' 

't • 

y )c 


Richard Clav and Sons, Limited, 
london and bungav. 

MAY 2i 19^ 
^ ^ . 



Having read the proofs of Mr. Westermarck's book I am 
asked by the publishers to say a few words by way of intro- 
ducing the work to English readers. This I have great 
pleasure in doing, because I have seldom read a more 
thorough or a more philosophic discussion of some of the 
most difficulty and at the same time interesting problems of 

The origin and development of human marriage have been 
discussed by such eminent writers as Darwin, Spencer, 
Morgan, Tylor, Lubbock, and many others. On some of 
the more important questions involved in it all these writers 
are in general accord, an4i this agreement has led to their 
opinions being widely accepted as if they were well-estab- 
lished conclusions of science. But on several of these points 
Mr. Westermarck has arrived at different, and sometimes I 
diametrically opposite, conclusions, and he has done so after f 
a most complete and painstaking investigation of all the 
available facts. 

With such an array of authority on the one side and a 
hitherto unknown student on the other, it will certainly be 
thought that all the probabilities are against the latter. Yet 
I venture to anticipate that the verdict of independent 
thinkers will, on most of these disputed points, be in favour of 


the new comer who has so boldly challenged the conclusions 
of some of our most esteemed writers. Even those whose 
views are here opposed, will, I think, acknowledge that Mr. 
Westermarck is a careful investigator and an acute reasoner, 
and that his arguments as well as his conclusions are 
worthy of the most careful consideration. 

I would also call attention to his ingenious and philoso- 
phical explanation of the repugnance to marriage between 
near relatives which is so very general both among savage 
and civilised man, and as to the causes of which there 
has been great diversity of opinion ; and to his valuable sug- 
gestions on the general question of sexual selection, in which 
he furnishes an original argument against Darwin's views on 
the point, differing somewhat from my own though in general 
harmony with it. 

Every reader of the work will admire its clearness of 
style, and the wonderful command of what is to the author a 
foreign language. 





I NEED scarcely say how fully I appreciate the honour 
of being introduced to English readers by Mr. Alfred 
R. Wallace. I am also greatly obliged for his kindness 
in reading the proofs, and in giving me the benefit of his 
advice with regard to various parts of the subject 

It is difficult for me to acknowledge sufficiently my obli- 
gations to Mr. James Sime for his assistance in preparing 
this book for the press. The work, as originally written, 
naturally contained a good many foreign modes of expression. 
Mr. Sime has been indefatigable in helping me to improve 
the form of the text ; and, in our discussions on the main 
lines of the ai^ument, he has made several important 
suggestions. I am sincerely obliged for the invaluable aid 
he has given me. 

My cordial thanks are due to Mr. Charles J. Cooke, 
British Vice-Consul at Helsingfors, who most kindly aided 
me in writing the first part of the book in a tongue which 
is not my own. I am indebted also to Dr. E. B. Tylor, 
Professor G. Croom Robertson, Mr. James Sully, and Dr. 
W. C. Coupland for much encouraging interest ; to Mr. 
Joseph Jacobs for the readiness with which he has placed 
at my disposal some results of his own researches ; and to 


several gentlemen in different parts of the world who have 
. been so good as to respond to my inquiries as to their 
personal observation of various classes of phenomena con- 
nected with marriage among savage tribes. The information 
I have received from them is acknowledged in the passages 
in which it is used. 

A list of authorities is given at the end of the book — 
between the text and the index, — and it may be well to add 
that the references in the notes have been carefully verified. 

E. W. 
London, May^ 1891. 




History of human civilization a part of Sociology, p. i. — Early history based on 
ethnography, p. 2. — Errors in method, pp. 2, et seq, — How we can from 
ethnographical facts acquire information regarding the early history of man- 
kind, pp. 3-6. — Dr. Tylor's * method of investigating the development of 
institutions,' pp. 4, et seq, — The causes of social phenomena, p. 5. — What 
we know about the antiquity of the human race, pp. 5, et seq. — ' Social rudi- 
ments,' p. 6. — ' Human marriage,' iHd, 



Tales of the origin of marriage, pp. 8, et seq. — The subject regarded from a 
scientific point of view, p. 9. — Parental care among Invertebrata, ibid, — The 
relations of the sexes and parental care among Fishes, p. 10. — Among 
Reptiles, ihid. — Among Birds, pp. 10, et seq, — Among the lower Mammals, 
p. 12. — Among the Quadrumana, pp. 12-14. — Among savage and barbarous 
races of men, pp. 14-17. — The father's place in the family, pp. 15-19. — 
Definition of the word marriage, pp. 19, et seq. — Marriage a product of 
natural selection, pp. 20, et seq, — Marriage rooted in family rather than 
family in marriage, pp. 22-24. 



Hypotheses as to the periodicity in the sexual life of animals, p. 25. — Every 
month or season of the year the pairing season of one or another mammalian 
species, pp. 25, tt seq, — The rut not dependent upon any general physio- 
logical law, but adapted to the requirement of each species separately, pp. 26^ 


et seq, — Wild species without a definite pairing season, p. 27. — Ratting 
season among the man-like apes, ibid, — Among our earliest human or half- 
human progenitors, pp. 27, et seq, — Periodical increase of the sexual instinct 
among existing sayages, pp. 28-30. — Among civilized peoples, pp. 30-33. — 
The increase of the sexual instinct at the end of spring or in the beginning of 
summer, probably a survival of an ancient pairing season, pp. 34, ei seq, — 
The winter maximum of conceptions, pp. 35, et seq, — Why man is not 
limited to a particular period of the year in which to court the female, pp. 36, 
et seq. — Domestic animals without a definite pairing season, p. 38. 



Marriage a necessary requirement for the existence of the human race, p. 39. — 
The hypothesis that the maternal uncle was the guardian of the children, 
pp. 39-4i.--The father the head of the family, p. 41.— The hypothesis that 
all the men of the tribe indiscriminately were their guardians, pp. 41, et seq, — 
Man originally not a gregarious animal, pp. 42, et seq, — The solitary life of 
the man-like apes, ibid, — Savage peoples living in families rather than in 
tribes, pp. 43-47. — Insufficient food supply a hindrance to a true gregarious 
manner of living, pp. 47-49. — ^The gregariousness and sociability of man 
sprang in the main from progressive intellectual and material civilization, 
pp. 49, et seq. 



The hypothesis of promiscuity, pp. 51, et seq, — The evidence adduced in sup- 
port of it, p. 52. — Notices of savage nations said to live promiscuously, 
pp. 52-55. — Some of the facts adduced, no instances of real promiscuity, 
pp. 55-57. — Most of the statements obviously erroneous, pp. 57-59. — The 
accuracy of the others doubtful, pp. 59, et seq. — Even if correct, they cannot 
afford any evidence for promiscuity having prevailed in primitive times, pp. 
60, et seq, — The free cohabitation of the sexes before marriage, in some parts of 
the world, given as evidence of ancient promiscuity, p. 61. — Sexual intercourse 
out of wedlock rare, and unchastity on the part of the woman looked upon as a 
disgrace, among many uncivilized peoples, pp. 61-66. — The wantonness of 
savages in several cases due chiefly to the influence of civilization, pp. 66-70. 
— It is quite difierent from promiscuity, pp. 70, et seq, — Customs interpreted 
as acts of expiation for individual marriage, p. 72. — Religious prostitution, 
ibid,— Jus primae noctis accorded to the wedding-guests or to the friends 
of the bridegroom, pp. 72-76. — ^The practice of lending wives to visitors, pp. 
73-75.— :/»x primae noctis granted to a chief, lord, or priest, pp. 76-8a — 
Courtesans held in greater estimation than women married to a single 
husband, pp. 80, et seq. 





Tbe 'dassificatory system of reladonship/ pp. 82-84. — 'Marriage in a group' 
and the 'consanguine family/ pp. 84, et seq, — Mr. Moigan's assumption that 
the 'dassificatory system' is a system of blood ties, p. 85. — Terms for 
relationships borrowed from the children's lips, pp. 85-87. — Other terms, 
pp. 87-89. — Mr. Morgan's assumption not consistent with the facts he has 
himself stated, p. 89. — The terms for relationships originally terms of address, 
ibid. — The names given chiefly with reference to sex and age, as also to the 
external, or sodal, relationship in which the speaker stands to the person 
whom he addresses, pp. 90-95. — No inference regarding early marriage 
customs to be drawn from the terms for rdationships, pp. 95, tt seq, — The 
system of 'kinship through females only,' p. 96. — Supposed to be due to 
uncertain paternity, pp. 96, et seq. — A list of peoples among whom this 
system does not prevail* pp. 9^104. — The inference that 'kinship through 
females only' everywhere preceded the rise of 'kinship through males' 
inadmissible from Mr. McLennan's point of view, p. 105. — The maternal 
system does not presuppose former uncertainty as to fathers, ibid. — The 
father's participation in parentage not discovered as soon as the mother's^ 
though now universally recognized, pp. 105-107. — Once discovered, it was 
often exaggerated, p. 106. — The denomination of children and the rules of 
succession, in the first place, not dependent on ideas of consanguioity, 
p. 107. — Several reasons for naming children after the mother rather than 
after the father, apart from any consideration of relationship, ibid. — The tie 
between a mother and child much stronger than that which binds a diild to 
the father, pp. 107, et seq. — Polygyny, p. 108. — Husband living with the 
wife's family, pp. 109, et seq. — The rules of succession influenced by local 
connections and by the family name, pp. 110-112. — No general coinddence 
of what we consider moral and immoral habits with the prevalence of the male 
and female line among existing savages, p. 112. — Occasional coinddence of 
the paternal system with uncertainty as to fathers, ibid. — Avowed recog- 
nition of kinship in the female line only does not show an unconsciousness of 
male kinship, pp. 112, et seq. — The prevalence of the female line would not 
presuppose general promiscuity, even if, in some cases, it were dependent 
on uncertain paternity, p. 113. — The groups of social phenomena adduced as 
evidence for the hypothesis of promiscuity no evidence, ibid, 




Promiscuous intercourse between the sexes tends to a pathological condition un- 
favourable to fecundity, p. 115. — The practice of polyandry does not afford 
evidence in an opposite direction, pp. 11 5- 11 7. — The jealousy of man and 
other mammalian spedes the strongest argument against andent promis- 
cuity, p. 117. — ^Jealousy among existing peoples, pp. 117-121. — Punishments 


inflicted for adultery, pp. 121, 122, 130. — Man's requirement of virginity from 
his bride, pp. 123, et siq. — A wife considered to belong to her husband, not 
during his lifetime only, but after his death, pp. 124-130. — Widows killed, pp. 
125, ei seq, — Duties towards deceased husbands, pp. 126, et seq. — Widows 
forbidden to marry again, pp. 127, et seq. — Prohibition of speedy remar- 
riage, pp. 12S-130. — The practice of lending or prostituting wives no 
evidence for the absence of jealousy, pp. 130, et seq. — Contact with a 
'higher culture' misleading natural instincts, pp. 131, et seq, — No reason 
to suppose that the feeling of jealousy ever was restrained by conditions 
which made it necessary for a man to share his wife with other men, pp. 132^ 
et seq. — The hypothesis of promiscuity essentially unscientific, p. 133. 



Voluntary abstinence unheard of in a state of nature, p. 134. — Celibacy rare 
among savage and barbarous races, pp. 134-136. — Savage views on celibacy, 
pp. 136, ^/ j^^.— Savages marry early in life, pp. 137-139. — Celibacy rare 
among several civilized races, pp. 139-143. — Celibacy caused by the practice 
of purchasing wives, and by polygyny, pp. 143-145. — Celibacy in Europe, 
and its causes, pp. 145-150. — Sexual relations considered impure, pp. 151, 
et seq. — Religious celibacy, pp. 152-155. — Hypothesis as to the origin of the 
notion of sexual nncleanness and of sexual bashfiilness, pp. 155, et seq. 



Males active, females comparatively passive, in courtship, pp. 157, et j^.— Court- 
ship by women among certain peoples, pp. 158, et seq. — Courtship by proxy, 
p. 159. — Fighting for females among the lower animals, t^V. — Among 
men, pp. 159-163. — Making love, p. 163. — Fights by women for the 
possession of men, p. 164. — Female coquetry, ibid. 



Savage predilection for ornaments, pp. 165, et seq. — For self-mutilation, pp. 166^ 
et seq. — For dressing the hair, p. 167. — For showy colours and paint, p. 168. — 
For tattooing, pp. 168, et seq. — Practices supposed to have a religious origin, 
pp. 169-172. — Nfr. Frazer's theory as regards the origin of tattooing, &c., pp. 
170, et seq. — Other theories, p. 172. — Men and women began to ornament, 
mutilate, paint, and tattoo themselves, chiefly in order to make themselves 
attractive to the opposite sex, pp. 172-182. — Savage women less decorated than 
savage men, pp. 182-185. — Opinions as to the origin of dress, p. 186. — Naked- 


ness and want of modesty among many savage peoples, pp. 186-189. — Orna- 
mental 'gannents' among savages, pp. 189-192. — Covering a means of 
attraction, pp. 192-200, 211, tt seq. — Practices serving a similar end, pp. 201- 
206. — Circumcision, ibid. — Different ideas of modesty, pp. 206-208. — The 
power of custom and the feeling of shame, pp. 208-211. 



Females 'engaged' in infancy, pp. 21^^ et seq, — The right of giving a girl in 
marriage, pp. 214, et seq, — Considerable liberty of selection allowed to women 
among the lower races, pp. 215-221. — It was even greater in primitive times, 
pp. 221, et seq, — Bride-stealing and elopement, p. 223. — The position of sons 
among uncivilized peoples, pp. 223-225. — Paternal authority based on an- 
cestor worship, in the ancient and Eastern World, pp. 225-235. — The 
patria potestcu of the Aryan races, pp. 229-235. — The decline of the patria 
poiestas, pp. 235-239. 



Mr. Darwin's theory of * Sexual Selection,' pp. 240, et seq. — Contradiction be- 
tween the theories of natural and sexuaJi selection, pp. 241, et seq. — The 
colours of flowers, pp. 242, et seq, — Mr. Wallace's theory of the sexual colours 
of animals, p. 243. — The sexual colours make it easier for the sexes to find 
each other, pp. 243, et seq. — They occur exactly in those species whose habits 
and manner of living make these colours most visible, pp. 244, et seq, — The 
odours of flowers, p. 246. — Sexual odours and sounds among animals, pp. 
246, et seq. — The sexual colours, odours, and sounds of animals comple- 
mentary to each other in the way that is best suited to make the animals 
easily discoverable, pp. 247-249. — The untenableness of Mr. Darwin's theory, 
p. 249. — The secondary sexual characters due to natural selection, pp. 249, 
et seq. — Mr. Wallace's views, p. 250. — Animal * ornaments,' pp. 250, et seq, 
— Further arguments against Mr. Darwin's theory, p. 251. — The variability 
of the secondary sexual characters, pp. 251, et seq. — Their stability in wild 
species, p. 252. 



Female selection among animals and the indifference of the males, p. 253. — 
Woman more particular in her choice than man, pp. 253, et seq. — Female 
appreciation of manly strength and courage, pp. 255, et seq. — Men attracted 
by healthy women, p. 256. — ^The connection between love and beauty not 
peculiar to the civilized mind, p. 257. — Different notions of personal 

• f 


beauty, pp. 257, et seq. — Mr. Speocer's theory of 'facial perfection/ pp. 
258, etseq. — Men find beauty in the full development of the visible characteris- 
tics belonging to- the human organism in general, p. 259.— Of those peculiar 
to the sex, pp. 259, tt seq, — Of those peculiar to the race, pp. 261-264. — 
The connection between love and beauty due to natural selection, pp. 265, 
273, et seq. — Individual deviations from the national type less considerable 
among savages than among civilized men, pp. 265, et seq, — Racial peculiari- 
ties in some way connected with the external circumstances in which the 
various races live, pp. 266-271. — Acclimatization, pp. 268-270. — Professor 
Weismann*s theory of heredity applied to the origin of the human races, pp. 
271-273.— Physical beauty the outward manifestation of physical perfection, 
PP' 273» tt seq, — Rejection of Mr. Darwin's opinion on the connection between 
love and beauty, pp. 274, et seq, — Rejection of his theory as to the origin of 
the human races, pp. 275, et seq, — ^The hairlessness of man, pp. 276, etseq, — 
The influence of sexual selection on the physical aspect of mankind, p. 277. 



Instinctive aversion among animals to pairing with individuals belonging to 
another species, pp. 278-280. — Infertility of first crosses and of hybrids, pp. 
279, et seq. — 'The Law of Similarity,' p. 280. — Bestiality, pp. 280, et seq, — 
The various human races said to have an instinctive aversion to intermingling, 
pp. 281, et seq, — Intermixture of races, pp. 282, et seq, — Its effects on fertility, 
pp. 283-288. — Rejection of M. Broca's theory as to the infertility of 
the connections of Europeans with Australian women, pp. 284-287. — ^The 
doctrine of the unity of mankind independent of the degree of fertility of first 
crosses and of mongrels, pp. 288, et seq. 



The horror of incest almost universally characteristic of mankind, p. 290. — Inter- 
course between parents and children, pp. 290, et seq, — Between brother and 
sister, pp. 291-294. — Between half-brother and half-sister, pp. 294, et seq, — 
Between uncle and niece, and aunt and nephew, pp. 295, et seq. — Between 
first cousins, pp. 296, et seq, — The prohibited degrees among peoples un- 
affected by modem civilization more numerous, as a rule, than in advanced 
communities, pp. 297-309. — Prohibition of marriage between relatives by 
alliance, pp. 309, et seq, — Early hypotheses as to the origin of the prohibitions 
^ of marriage between near kin, p. 310. — Criticism of Mr. McLennan's hypo- 

thesis as to the origin of exogamy, pp. 31 1-3 14. — Criticism of Mr. Spencer's 
views, pp. 314, et seq, — Of Sir John Lubbock's, p. 316. — Of Dr. Tylor's and 
Professor Kohler's, pp. 316, et seq, — Of Mr. Morgan's, &c., pp. sij, etseq, — 
The prohibition of incest founded not on experience, but on instinct, pp. 318, 
et seq. 





No innate aversion to marriage with near relations, p. 320. — ^Innate aversion to 
sexnal intercourse between persons living very closely together from early 
youth, pp. 320-330. — Local exogamy, pp. 321-323. — Connection between 
the prohibited degrees and the more or less close living together, pp. 324- 
329. — Connection between the ' classificatory system of relationship ' and 
exogamy, p. 329. — The one-sidedness of prohibitions due in part directly to 
local relationships, in part to the influence of names, pp. 330, et seq. — The 
prohibitions of marriage between relations by alliance and by adoption due 
to an association of ideas, p. 331. — The prohibitions on the ground of 
'spiritual relationship' due to the same cause, ibid, — Endogamy seldom 
occurs in very small communities, p. 332. — Marriage between half-brothers 
and half-sisters not contrary to the principle here laid down, ibid, — Inces- 
tuous unions due to pride of birth, to extreme isolation, and to vitiated in- 
stincts, p. 333. — ^Incest among the lower animals, p. 334. — ^The effects of 
cross- and self-fertilization among plants, p. 335. — Evil effects of close inter- 
breeding among animals, pp. 335-337. — A certain amount of differentiation 
favourable for the fertilization or union of two organisms, pp. 337, et seq, — 
Difficulty of adducing direct evidence for the evil effects of consanguineous 
marriages among men, pp. 338, ei seq. — Close intermarrying among the 
Veddahs, pp. 339, ei seq. — The effects of marriage between first cousins, pp. 
340-343. — ^The experience of isolated communities does not prove consan- 
guineous marriages to be harmless, pp. 343-345. — The bad consequences of 
self-fertilization and close interbreeding may almost. fail to appear under 
favourable conditions of life, pp. 345, et seq, — Consanguineous marriages more 
injurious in savage regions than in civilized society, p. 346. — Tendency of 
endogamous peoples to die out, pp. 346-350. — Peoples who ascribe evil re- 
sults to close intermarriage, pp. 350-352. — The horror of incest due to 
natural selection, pp. 352, et seq, — Exogamy arose when single families 
united in small hordes, p. 353. — Love excited by contrasts, pp. 353-355. 




The compound character of love, p. 356. — Conjugal affection, at the lower stages 
of civilization, less intense than parental love, pp. 356-358. — Conjugal affec- 
tion among savages, pp. 358, et seq, — Among primitive men, pp. 359, et seq, 
— Mutual love as the motive which leads to marriage, pp. 360, et seq, — Sexual 
love has developed in proportion as altruism has increased, ibid, — Sexual 
love among the Eastern nations, f^tV. — Sexual selection determined by intel- 
lectual, emotional, and moral qualities, p. 362. — Sexual selection influenced by 
sympathy, pp. 362-376. — By age, 362. — By the degree of cultivation, pp. 362, 


ttseq. — Racial and national endogamy, pp. 363-365. — Tribal, communal, and 
clan-endogamy, pp. 365-368. — The origin of castes and classes, pp. 368, etseq, 
— Want of sympathy between different classes, pp. 369, etseq, — Class- and 
caste-endogamy, pp. 370-373. — The decline of national and class-endogamy 
in modem society, pp. 373, ei seq, — Religion a bar to intermarriage, pp. 374- 
376. — The increase of mixed marriages, p. 376. — Desire for offspring, pp. 
376-378. — Appreciation of female fecundity, p. 378. — Sexual selection in- 
fluenced by the desire for offspring, pp. 378, et seq, — The causes of this 
desire, pp. 379, etseq. — With the progress of civilization this desire has be- 
come less intense, p. 381. — A wife chosen because of her ability as a 
labourer, pp. 381, et seq, — A husband chosen because of his ability to protect 
and provide for a wife and ofi&pring, p. 382. — Wife-purchase and husband- 
purchase in modem society, ibid. 



Marriage by capture as a reality or as a symbol among uncivilized races, pp. 383- 
386. — Among peoples of the Aryan race, pp. 386, et seq. — No evidence that 
marriage by capture has prevailed among every race, p. 387. — Marriage with 
capture, p. 388. — Marriage by capture and exogamy, pp. 388, et seq. — The 
origin of marriage by capture, p. 389. — Marriage by capture once the normal, 
never the exclusive form of contracting marriage, ibid. — Marriage by exchange, 
p. 390. — Wives obtained by service, pp. 390-392. — Wives obtained by actual 
purchase, pp. 392-394. — Marriage on credit, p. 394. — Marriage by purchase 
among civilized races, pp. 394-397. — Lower peoples among whom marriage 
by purchase does not exist, pp. 397-399. — Marriage by purchase a more 
recent stage than marriage by capture, pp. 399-401. — Barter a comparatively 
late invention of man, pp. 400, et seq. — Transition from marriage by capture 
to marriage by purchase, p. 401. — The bride-price a compensation for the 
loss sustained in giving up the girl, p. 402. — Bargain about women, ibid. — 
Savage views on marriage by purchase, ibid. 



The decay of marriage by purchase among civilized peoples, pp. 403-405. — Mar- 
riage by purchase transformed into a symbol, pp. 405, et seq. — Arbitrary 
presents and sham sale, p. 405. — Retum gift, pp. 405, et seq. — The purchase- 
sum transformed into the morning gift and the dotal portion, pp. 406-408. — 
The decay of marriage by purchase among uncivilized races, pp. 408-410. — 
The marriage portion does not in every case spring from a previous purchase, 
p. 411. — It sesves different ends, ibid. — The marriage portion as a settlement 
for the wife, pp. 411-414. — The marriage portion among uncivilized races, 
pp. 414, et seq. — Fathers bound by law or custom to portion their daughters, 
PP* 41 5i ^^ ^^^* — Husband-purchase, p. 416. 




Peoples who have no marriage ceremony, pp. 417, et seq. — The rise of marriage 
ceremonies, pp. 418-421. — When the mode of contracting a marriage altered, 
the earlier mode, from having been a reality, survived as a ceremony, 
p. 418. — Wedding feasts, pp. 418, et seq, — Ceremonies symbolizing the relation 
between husband and wife. pp. 419-421. — Religious ceremonies connected 
with marriage among uncivilized nations, pp. 421-424. — Assistance of a 
priest, pp. 422, eiseq, — Omens and Mucky days,* pp. 423, et seq, — Religious 
marriage ceremonies among civilized nations, pp. 424-428. — Civil marriage, 
pp. 428, et seq, — The validity of marriage, pp. 429, et seq. 



Polygyny permitted by many civilyced nations and the bulk of savage tribes, pp. 
431-435. — Among many savage peoples developed to an extraordinary 
extent, pp. 434, et seq, — Among not a few uncivilized peoples almost un- 
known, or even prohibited, pp. 435-437. — Among certain peoples permitted 
only to the chief men, pp. 437, et seq. — Almost everywhere confined to the 
smaller part of the people, pp. 438-442. — Modified in a monogamous direc- 
tion through the higher position granted to one of the wives, generally the 
first married, pp. 443-448. — Through the preference given to the favourite 
wife as regards sexual intercourse, pp. 448, et seq. — Bigamy the most common 
form of polygyny, p. 450. — The occurrence of polyandry, pp. 450-455. — 
Polyandry nowhere the exclusive form of marriage, pp. 455-457. — Modified 
in directions towards monogamy, pp. 457, et seq. — The first husb.and the 
chief husband, ibid. — Monogamy the most common form of human marriage, 
p. 459. 



The proportion between the sexes varies among different peoples, pp. 460-464. — 
Causes to which the disparity in the numbers of the sexes is due, pp. 465- 
482. — The higher mortality of men, dependent upon war, &c., pp. 465, et 
seq, — The higher mortality of women, dependent upon female infanticide, 
&C., p* 466, — Disproportion between the sexes at birth, pp. 466-469. — 
Hypotheses as to the causes which determine the sex of the offspring, pp. 469- 


! xviii CONTENTS 

476. — The law of Hofacker and Sadler, pp. 469, et seq. — Dr. Dusing's 
hypothesis, pp. 470-476. — Polyandry dependent upon an excess of male 
births, pp. 472-474. — Coincidence of polyandry with poverty of material 
resources, pp. 474-476. — Mixture of race produces an excess of female 
births, pp. 476-480. — Unions between related individuals or, generally, 
between individuals who are very like each other, produce a comparatively 
great number of male offspring, pp. 480-482. — Hie form of marriage in- 
fluenced by the numerical proportion between the sexes, pp. 482, et seq.-— 
Several reasons why a man may desire to possess more than one wife, pp. 
483-492. — Monogamy requires from him periodical continence, pp. 483-485- 
— He is attracted by female youth and beauty, pp. 485, a seq, — At the lower 
stages of civilization women become old sooner than in more advanced 
communities, pp. 486-488. — Man's taste for variety, p. 488. — Man's desire 
for offspring, pp. 488-491. — Women generally less prolific among savage than 
among civilized nations, pp. 490, et seq. — A man's fortune increased by a 
multitude of wives through their labour, pp. 491, et seq. — A man's authority 
increased by a multitude of wives, p. 492. — Hindrances to polygyny, pp. 
493-503. — ^The difficulty in maintaining a plurality of wives, p. 493. — The 
necessity of payii^ the purchase-sum or of serving for a wife, pp. 493, 
et seq. — Polygyny practised chiefly by the principal men of the people, pp. 
494, et seq. — Polygyny a violation of the feelings of women, pp. 495-500. — 
Manying sisters, pp. 499, et seq. — Coincidence of monc^amy with a higher 
steUus of women, pp. 500-502. — The form of marriage influenced by the 
quality of the passion which unites the sexes, p. 502. — The absorbing passion 
for one, pp. 502, et seq. — The causes of polyandry, pp. 503, et seq. — The 
chief immediate cause a numerical disproportion between the sexes, p. 504. 





Monogamy more prevalent at the lowest stages of civilization than at somewhat 
higher stages, pp. 505-508. — Polygyny favoured by social differentiation, pp. 
505, et seq. — The very lowest races either strictly monogamous, or but little 
addicted to polygyny, pp. 506, et seq. — Polygyny adopted under the in- 
fluence of a higher civilization, pp. 507, et seq. — Monogamy prevails among 
the man-like apes, p. 508. — Civilization in its higher forms leads to mono- 
gamy, pp. 508, et seq. — Will monogamy be the only recognized form of 
marriage in the future? pp. 509, et seq. — Criticism of Mr, McLennan's theory 
as to the general prevalence of polyandry in early times, pp. 510-515. — 
The Levirate affords no evidence for this theory, pp. 510-514. — Polyandry 
always an exception in the human race, pp. 514, et seq. — It presupposes an 
abnormally feeble disposition to jealousy, p. 515. — It seems to presuppose a 
certain amount of civilization, pp. 515, et seq. — Polyandry an expression of 
fraternal benevolence, p. 516. — The origin of the group-marriage of the 
Toda type, lOid. 




The twe 6mnag which marriage lasts Taries, p. 517. — Peoples among whom 
separation is said to be unknown, idid. — Human marriage, as a general rule, 
not necessarily contracted for life, pp. 518-520. — Divorce dependent upon 
the husband's decision, pp. 520, €i seq, — Divorce among a great many 
peoples fTccr i it kw B d , |^. 521-523. — A man permitted to divorce his wife only 
voder certain conditions, pp. 523-526. — Marriage dissolved by the wife, 
pp. 526-529. — The causes by which the duration of human marriage is 
influenced, pp. 529-535. — The duration of marriage among primitive men, 
P* 535* — The development of the duration of human marriage, pp. 535, et seq. 


pp. 537-550 

Authorities Quoted PP- 551-579 

Index pp. 579-644 

>^t ^ ^^.^>^ — Wm TT ti 





It is in the firm conviction that the history of human 
civilization should be made an object of as scientific a 
treatment as the history of organic nature that I write this 
book. Like the phenomena of physical and psychical life, 
those of social life should be classified into certain groups, 
and each group investigated with regard to its origin and 
development. Only when treated in this way can history 
lay claim to the rank and honour of a science in the highest 
sense of the term, as forming an important part of Sociology, 
the youngest of the principal branches of learning. 

Descriptive historiography has no higher object than that of ' 
offering materials to this science. It can, however, but very 
inadequately fulfil this task. The written evidences of history 
do not reach far into antiquity. They give us information 
about times when the scale of civilization was already compara- 
tively high — but scarcely anything more. As to the origin and 
early development of social institutions, they leave us entirely 
in the dark. The sociologist cannot rest content with this. But 
the information which historical documents are unable to afford 
him, may be, to a great extent, obtained from ethnography. 




The admirable works of Dr. Tylor, Sir John Lubbock, and 
Mr. Herbert Spencer have already made us familiar with the 
idea of a history of primitive civilization, based on ethno- 
graphical grounds. This new manner of treating history has, 
since the publication of their writings on the subject, gained 
adherents day by day. Immeasurable expanses have thus 
been opened to our knowledge, and many important results 
have been reached. But it must, on the other hand, be ad- 
mitted that the scientific value of the conclusions drawn from 
ethnographical facts has not always been adequate to the 
labour, thought, and acumen bestowed on them. The various 
investigators have, in many important questions, come to 
results so widely different, that the possibility of thus getting 
any information about the past might easily be doubted. 
These differences, however, seem to me to be due, not to the 
material, but to the manner of treating it 

" The chief sources of information regarding the early history 
of civil society," says Mr. McLennan, " are, first, the study of 
races in their primitive condition ; and, second, the study of the 
symbols employed by advanced nations in the constitution or 
exercise of civil rights." ^ 

Yet nothing has been more fatal to the Science of Society 
than the habit of inferring, without sufficient reasons, from the 
prevalence of a custom or institution among some savage 
j peoples, that this custom, this institution is a relic of a stage 
of development that the whole human race once went through. 
Thus the assumption that primitive men lived in tribes or 
hordes, all the men of which had promiscuous intercourse with 
all the women, where no individual marriage existed, and the 
children were the common property of the tribe, is founded, 
in the first place, on the statements of sipme travellers and 
ancient writers as to peoples among whom this custom is said 
actually to prevail, or to have prevailed. Dr. Post has gone 
still further in his book, * Die Geschlechtsgenossenschaft der 
Urzeit und die Entstehung der Ehe.* Without adducing any 
satisfactory reason for his opinion, he considers it probable 
that " monogamous marriage originally emerged everywhere 
from pure communism in women, through the intermediate 
* McLennan, 'Studies in Ancient History,' p. i. 


stages of limited communism in women, polyandry, and 
polygyny." ^ Mr. Lewis H. Morgan, in his ' Systems of Con- 
sanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family,' has suggested 
no fewer than fifteen normal stages in the evolution of 
marriage and the family, assuming the existence and general 
prevalence of a series of customs and institutions " which must 
of necessity have preceded a knowledge of marriage between 
single pairs, and of the family itself, in the modem sense of 
the term."* According to him, one of the first stages in this 
series is the intermarriage of brothers and sisters, as evidence 
of which he adduces, besides other facts, the historical state- 
ments that one of the Herods was married to his sister, and 
Cleopatra was married to her brother.' 

Again, in the study of symbols, or what may be called 
" social rudiments," the sociologists have by no means always 
been so careful as the matter requires. True enough that 
** wherever we discover symbolical forms, we are justified in 
inferring that in the past life of the people employing them, 
there were corresponding realities." * But all depends upon 
our rightly interpreting these symbols, and not putting into 
them a foreign meaning. The worst is, however, that many 
customs have been looked upon as social rudiments that 
probably are not so. Thus, for instance, I think that Mr. 
McLennan is mistaken in considering the system of the 
Levirate, under which, at a man's death, his wife or wives pass 
to his brother, as a test of the former presence of polyandry, 
the brothers of a family having a common wife. 

Similar conclusions being of common occurrence in modern 
Sociology, it is not surprising that different writers dissent 
so frequently from each other. This should be a strong 
reason for every conscientious investigator first of all putting 
to himself the question : how can we from ethnographical facts 
acquire information regarding the early history of mankind i 

I do not think that this question can be correctly answered 

* Post, *Die Geschlechtsgenossenschaft der Urzeit,' p. 17. In his 
later works, however, Dr. Post has changed his opinion (see, especially^ 
* Studien zur Entwickelungsgeschichte des Familienrechts,' p. 58). 

* Morgan, * Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity,' p. 479. 
' /feV/., p.' 480. * McLennan, /oc. cit p. 5. 

B 2 



in more than one way. We have first to find out the causes 
of the social phenomena ; then, from the prevalence of the 
causes, we may infer the prevalence of the phenomena them- 
selves, if the former must be assumed to have operated 
without being checked by other causes. 

If, then, historical researches based on ethnography are to 
be crowned with success, the first condition is that there shall 
be a rich material. It is only by comparing a large number of 
facts that we may hope to find the cause or causes on which a 
social phenomenon is dependent. And a rich material is all 
the more indispensable, as the trustworthiness of ethnograph- 
ical statements is not always beyond dispute. Without a 
thorough knowledge of a people it is impossible to give an 
exact account of its habits and customs, and therefore it often 
happens that the statements of a traveller cannot, as regards 
trustworthiness, come up to the evidences of history. As the 
sociologist is in many cases unable to distinguish falsehood 
from truth, he must be prepared to admit the inaccuracy of 
some of the statements he quotes. What is wanting in quality 
must be made up for in quantity ; and he who does not give 
himself the trouble to read through a voluminous literature 
of ethnography should never enter into speculations on the 
origin and early development of human civilization. 

Often, no doubt, it is extremely difficult to make out the 
causes of social phenomena. There are, for instance, among 
savage peoples many customs which it seems almost impossible 
to explain. Still, the statistical * method of investigating the 
( I development of institutions,' admirably set forth in the paper 
which Dr. Tylor recently read before * The Anthropological 
Institute of Great Britain and Ireland,' ^ will throw light upon 
many mysterious points. Dr. Tylor has there shown that 
causal relations among social facts may be discovered by way 
of tabulation and classification. The particular rules of the 
different peoples are to be scheduled out into tables, so as to 
indicate the " adhesions," or relations of coexistence of each 
custom, showing which peoples have the same custom, and 
what other customs accompany it or lie apart from it. If, then, 

^ 'Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and 
Ireland,' vol. xviii. pp. 245—269. 


starting with any two customs, the number of their "adhe- 
sions " is found to be much greater than the number of times 
they would coexist according to the ordinary law of chance- 
distribution — ^which number is calculated from the total 
number of peoples classified and the number of occurrences 
of each custom — we may infer that there is some causal con- 
nection between the two customs. Further on, I shall mention 
some few of the inferences Dr. Tylor has already drawn by 
means of this method. 

The- causes on which social phenomena are dependent fall 
within the domain of different sciences — Biology, Psychology, ) 
or Sociology. The reader will find that I put particular stress 
upon the psychological causes which have often been deplor- 
ably overlooked, or only imperfectly touched upon. And 
more especially do I believe thtt the mere instincts have 
played a very important part in the origin of social institu- 
tions and rules. 

We could not, however, by following the method of investi- 
gation here set forth, form any idea of the earlier stages of 
human development, unless we had some previous knowledge 
of the antiquity of mankind. Otherwise we should, of course, 
be quite ignorant whether the causes in question operated or 
not in the past. Fortunately, in this respect also, modern 
science has come to results which scarcely admit any longer 
of being considered as mere hypotheses. It teaches us, to 
quote Sir John Lubbock, " that man was at first a mere | 
savage, and that the course of history has on the whole 
been a progress towards civilization, though at times — 
and at some times for centuries — some races have been 
stationary, or even have retrograded ; " ^ that, however, all 
savage nations now existing are raised high above primitive 
men ; and that the first beings worthy to be called men, were \ 
probably the gradually transformed descendants of some ape- 
like ancestor. We may, further, -take for granted that all the 
physical and psychical qualities that man, in his present 
state, has in common with his nearest relatives among the 
lower animals, also occurred at the earlier stages of human 

' Lubbock, * The Origin of Civilisation,' p. 487. 


civilization. These conclusions open to us a rich source of 
new knowledge. 

Finally, as to social rudiments, I agree, certainly, with 
Mr. McLennan that they are of great importanee to Socio- 
logy. But we must be extremely careful not to regard as 
rudiments customs which may be more satisfactorily explained 

It is only by strictly keeping to these principles that we may 
hope to derive information touching the early history of man. 
In doing so, the student will be on his guard against rash 
conclusions. Considering that he has to make out the primary 
sources of social phenomena before writing their history, he 
will avoid assuming a custom to be primitive, only because, 
at the first glance, it appears so ; he will avoid making rules 
of exceptions, and constructing the history of human develop- 
ment on the immediate ground of isolated facts. It is true 
that the critical sociologist, on account of the deficiency of 
our knowledge, very often has to be content with hypotheses 
and doubtful presumptions. At any rate, the interests of 
science are better looked to, if we readily acknowledge our 
ignorance, than if we pass off vague guesses as established 

It is one of the simplest of all social institutions the history 
of which forms the subject of this book. Indeed, next to the 
family consisting of mother and offspring only, marriage is 
probably tite simplest. I shall not, however, treat this subject 
in all its aspects, but confine myself to human marriage, 
though before dealing with it I must, of course, touch upon 
the sexual relations of the lower animals also. 

The expression " human marriage " will probably be 
regarded by most people as an improper tautology. But, 
as we shall see, marriage, in the natural history sense of the 
term, does not belong exclusively to our own species. No 
more fundamental difference between man and other animals 
should be implied in sociological than in biological and psycho- 
logical terminology. Arbitrary classifications do science much 

I shall examine human marriage from its different sides, 


giving, in accordance with my method, an historical account 
of each separately. The reader may find much that will out- 
rage his feelings, and, possibly, hurt his sense of modesty ; 
but the concealment of truth is the only indecorum known 
to science. To keep anything secret within its cold and 
passionless expanses, would be the same as to throw a cloth 
round a naked statue. 



From remote antiquity we are told of kings and rulers 
who instituted marriage amongst their subjects. We read in 
* MahAbh^rata,' the Indian poem, that formerly " women were 
unconfined, and roved about at their pleasure, independent. 
Though in their youthful innocence, they went astray from 
their husbands, they were guilty of no offence ; for such was 
the rule in early times." But Swetaketu, son of the Rishi 
Uddalaka, could not bear this custom, and established the 
rule that thenceforward wives should remain faithful to their 
husbands and husbands to their wives.^ The Chinese annals 
recount that, " in the beginning, men differed in nothing from 
other animals in their way of life. As they wandered up and 
down in the woods, and women were in common, it happened 
that children never knew their fathers, but only their mothers." 
The Emperor Fou-hi abolished, however, this indiscriminate 
intercourse of the sexes and instituted marriage.* Again, the 
ancient Egyptians are stated to be indebted to Menes for this 
institution,* and the Greeks to Kekrops. Originally, it is said, 
they had no idea of conjugal union: they gratified their 
desires promiscuously, and the children that sprang from 
these irregular connections always bore the mother's name. 
But Kekrops showed the Athenians the inconvenience to 
society from such an abuse, and established the laws and rules 

* Muir, * Original Sanskrit Texts,' vol. ii. p. 327. 

* Goguet, *The Origin of Laws, Arts, and Sciences,' vol. iii. pp. 311, 
313- ' Ibid,y vol. i. p. 22. 


of marriage.^ The remote Laplanders, also, sing about Njavvis 
and Attjis, who instituted marriage, and bound their wives by 
sacred oaths. 

Popular imagination prefers the clear and concrete ; it 
does not recognize any abstract laws that rule the universe. 
Nothing exists without a cause, but this cause is not sought 
in an agglomeration of external or internal forces ; it is 
taken to be simple and palpable, a personal being, a god 
or a king. Is it not natural, then, that marriage, which plays ( 
such an important part in the life of the individual, as well 
as in that of the people, should be ascribed to a wise and 
powerful ruler, or to direct divine intervention. 

With notions of this kind science has nothing to do. If we 
want to find out the origin of marriage, we have to strike into 
another path, the only one which can lead to the truth, but a 
path which is open to him alone who regards organic nature 
as one continued chain, the last and most perfect link of which 
is man. For we can no more stop within the limits of our 
own species, when trying to find the root of our psychical and 
social life, than we can understand the physical condition of 
the human race without taking into consideration that of the 
lower animals. I must, therefore, beg the reader to follow me 
into a domain which many may consider out of the way, but 
which we must, of necessity, explore in order to discover what 
we seek. 

It is obvious that the preservation of the progeny of the 
lowest animals depends mainly upon chance. In the great 
sub -kingdom of the Invertebrata, even the mothers are 
exempted from nearly all anxiety as regards their offspring. 
In the highest order, the Insects, the eggs are hatched by the 
heat of the sun, and the mother, in most cases, does not even 
see her young. Her care is generally limited to seeking out 
an appropriate place for laying the eggs, and to fastening 
them to some proper object and covering them, if this be 
necessary for their preservation. Again, to the male's share 
nothing falls, but the function of propagation.' 

* Goguet, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 19. 

* V. Duben, * Lappland och Lappame,' p. 330. 
' Brehm, ' Thierleben,' vol. ix. p. 16. 


In the lowest classes of the Vertebrata, parental care is 
likewise almost unheard of. In the immense majority of 
species, young fishes are hatched without the assistance of 
their parents, and have, from the outset, to help themselves. 
Many Teleostei form, however, an exception ; and, curiously 
enough, it is the male on which, in these cases, the parental 
duty generally devolves. In some instances he constructs a 
nest, and jealously guards the ova deposited in it by the 
female ; while the male of certain species of Arius carries the 
ova about with him in his capacious pharynx.^ Most of the 
Reptiles place their eggs in a convenient and sunny spot 
between moss and leaves, and take no further trouble about 
them. But several of the larger serpents have a curious 
fashion of laying them in a heap, and then coiling themselves 
around them in a great hollow cone.^ And female Crocodiles, 
as also certain aquatic snakes of Cochin China, observed by 
Dr. Morice, carry with them even their young.' 

Among the lower Vertebrata it rarely happens that both 
parents jointly take care of their progeny. M. Milne Edwards 
states, indeed, that in the Pipa, or Toad of Surinam, the male 
helps the female to disburthen herself of her eggs ; * and the 
Chelonia are known to live in pairs. " La femelle," says 
M. Elspinas, ** vient sur les plages sablonneuses au moment de 
la ponte, accompagn^e du mile, et construit un nid en forme 
de four oi^ la chaleur du soleil fait 6clore les oeufs." ^ But it 
may be regarded as an almost universal rule that the relations 
of the sexes are utterly fickle. The male and female come 
together in the pairing time ; but having satisfied their sexual 
instincts, they part again, and have nothing more to do with 
one another. 

The Chelonia form, with regard to their domestic habits, a 
transition to the Birds, as they do also from a zoological and, 
particularly, from an embryological point of view. In the latter 
class, parental affection has reached a very high degree of 

* Gunther, * Introduction to the Study of Fishes,' p. 163. 
2 Wood, ' Illustrated Natural History,' vol. iii. p. 3. 
' Espinas, ' Des socidt^s animales/ p. 416. 

^ Milne Edwards, ' Lemons sur la physiologic et I'anatomie compart,' 
vol. viii. p. 496. * Espinas, p. 417. 


development, not only on the mother's side, but also on the 
father's. Male and female help each other to build the nest, 
the former generally bringing the materials, the latter doing 
the work. In fulfilling the numberless duties of the breeding 
season, both birds take a share. Incubation rests principally 
with the mother, but the father, as a rule, helps his companion, 
taking her place when she wants to leave the nest for a 
moment, or providing her with food and protecting her from 
every danger. Finally, when the duties of the breeding season 
are over, and the result desired is obtained, a period with new 
duties commences. During the first few days after hatching, 
most birds rarely leave their young for long, and then only to 
procure food for themselves and their family. In cases of 
great danger, both parents bravely defend their offspring. As 
soon as the first period of helplessness is over, and the young 
have grown somewhat, they are carefully taught to shift for 
themselves ; and it is only when they are perfectly capable of 
so doing that they leave the nest and the parents. 

There are, indeed, a few birds that from the first day of their 
ultra-oval existence lack all parental care; and in some species, 
as the ducks, it frequently happens that the male leaves family 
duties wholly to the female. But, as a general rule, both share 
prosperity and adversity. The hatching of the eggs and the 
chief part of the rearing-duties belong to the mother,^ whilst 
the father acts as protector, and provides food, &c. 

The relations of the sexes are thus of a very intimate 
character, male and female keeping together not only during 
the breeding season, but also after it Nay, most birds, with 
the exception of those belonging to the Gallinaceous family, 
when pairing, do so once for all till either one or the other 
dies. And Dr. Brehm is so filled with admiration for their 
exemplary family life, that he enthusiastically declares 
that "real genuine marriage can only be found among 
birds." 2 

* The ostrich forms, however, a curious exception. The male sits on 
the eggs, and brings up the young birds, the female never troubling 
herself about either of these duties (Brehm, * Bird-Life,' p. 324). 

* Ibid.^ p. 285. The statements concerning birds are taken from 
Brehm's * Thierleben,' vol. iv., the same author's ' Bird-Life,' and Hermann 
Miiller's ' Am Neste.* 


This certainly cannot be said of most of the Mammals. The 
mother is, indeed, very ardently concerned for the welfare of 
her young, generally nursing them with the utmost affection, 
but this is by no means the case with the father. There are 
cases in which he acts as an enemy of his own prog«iy. But 
there are not wanting instances to the contrary, the connec- 
tions between the sexes, though generally restricted to the 
time of the rut, being, with several species, of a more durable 
character. This is the case with whales,^ seals,* the hippopo- 
tamus,' the Cervus campestris^^ gazelles,* the Neotragus Hem- 
prichii and other small antelopes,* rein-deer,^ the Hydrotnus 
coypus^ squirrels,* moles,^® the ichneumon," and some carni- 
vorous animals, as a few cats and martens,^* the yaguarundi in 
South America,^* the Cants Brasiliensis}^ and possibly also 
the wolf.^* Among all these animals the sexes remain 
together even after the birth of the young, the male being 
the protector of the family. 

What among lower Mammals is an exception, is among the 
Quadrumana a rule. The natives of Madagascar relate that 
in some species of the Prosimii, male and female nurse their 
young in common ^* — a statement, however, which has not yet 
been proved to be true. The mirikina {Nyctipithecus trivir- 
gatus) seems, according to Rengger, to live in pairs throughout 
the whole year, for, whatever the season, a male and a female 
are always found together.*^ Of the Mycetes Caraya^ Cebus 
Azarae}-^ and Ateles paniscus}^ single individuals are very 
seldom, or never, seen, whole families being generally met 
with. Among the Arctopitheci,*® the male parent is expressly 
said to assist the female in taking care of the young ones. 

^ Brehm, ' Thierleben,' vol. iii. p. 679. 

* Ibid,^ vol. iii. pp. 593, 594, 599- ' Ibid.^ vol. iii. p. 578. 

* Rengger, * Naturgeschichte der Saugethiere von Paraguay,' p. 354. 

* Brehm, vol. iii. p. 206. ^ Ibid,, vol. iii. p. 256. Espinas, p. 447. 
7 Brehm, vol. iii. p. 124. ^ Rengger, p. 240. 

3 Brehm, vol. ii. p. 270. ^° Ibid,, vol. ii. p. 263. 

" Ibid,, vol. ii, p. 39. " Ibid, vol. i. p. 347. 

" Ibid,y vol. i. p. 387. " Rengger, pp. 147, et seq, 

^* Brehm, vol. i. p. 535. *® Ibid.^ vol. i. p. 244. 

'^ Rengger, p. 62. '* Ibid., pp. 20, 38. 
** Schomburgk, * Reisen in Britisch-Guiana,' vol, iii. p. 767. 
^ Brehm, voL i. p. 228. 


The most interesting to us are, of course, the man-like apes. 
Diard was told by the Malays, and he found it afterwards to 
be true, that the young Siamangs, when in their helpless state, 
are carried about by their parents, the males by the father, 
the females by the mother.^ Lieutenant C. de Crespigny, 
who was wandering in the northern part of Borneo in 1870, 
gives the following description of the Orang-utan : " They 
live in families — the male, female, and a young one. On one 
occasion I found a family in which were two young ones, one 
of them much larger than the other, and I took this as a proof 
that the family tie had existed for at least two seasons. They 
build commodious nests in the trees which form their feeding- 
ground, and, so far as I could observe, the nests, which are 
well lined with dry leaves, are only occupied by the female 
and young, the male passing the night in the fork of the same 
or another tree in the vicinity. The nests are very numerous 
all over the forest, for they are not occupied above a few nights, 
the mias (or Orang-utan) leading a roving life." ^ According 
to Dr. Mohnike, however, the old males generally live with the 
females during the rutting-season only ; • and Dr. Wallace 
never saw two full-grown animals together. But as he some- 
tinxes found not only females, but also males, accompanied by 
half-grown young ones,* we may take for granted that the 
offspring of the Orang-utan are not devoid of all paternal 

More unanimous are the statements which we have regard- 
ing the Gorilla. According to Dr. Savage, they live it bands, 
and all his informants agree in the assertion that but one adult 
male is seen in every band. " It is said that when the male 
is first seen he gives a terrific yell that resounds far and wide 
through the forest . . . The females and young at the first 
cry quickly disappear ; he then approaches the enemy in great 
fury, pouring out his horrid cries in quick succession.**^ Again, 
M. du Chaillu found " almost always one male with one female, 

* Brehm, * Thierleben,* vol. i. p. 97. 

* 'Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society,' vol. xvi. p. 177. 

3 Mohnike, ' Die AfTen auf den indisphen Inseln,' in ' Das Ausland,' 
1872, p. 850. See also Hartmann, ' Die menschenahnlichen AfTen,' p. 230. 

* Wallace, ' The Malay Archipelago,' vol. i. p. 93. 

' Savage, * Description of Troglodytes Gorilla^ pp. 9, et seg. 


though sometimes the old male wanders compam'onless ; " ^ 
and Mr. Winwood Reade states likewise that the Gorilla 
goes " sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by his female 
and young one." ^ The same traveller was told that, when a 
family of Gorillas ascend a tree and eat a certain fruit, the old 
father remains seated at the foot of the tree. And when the 
female is pregnant, he builds a rude nest, usually about fifteen 
or twenty feet from the ground ; here she is delivered, and 
the nest is then abandoned.* 

For more recent information about the Gorilla we are in- 
debted to Herr von Koppenfells. He states that the male 
spends the night crouching at the foot of the tree, against 
which he places his back, and thus protects the female and 
their young, which are in the nest above, from the nocturnal 
attacks of leopards. Once he observed a male and female 
with two young ones of different ages, the elder being perhaps 
about six years old, the younger about one.* 

When all these statements are compared, it is impossible to 
doubt that the Gorilla lives in families, the male parent being 
in the habit of building the nest and protecting the family. 
And the same is the case with the Chimpanzee. According 
to Dr. Savage, " it is not unusual to see * the old folks ' sitting 
under a tree regaling themselves with fruit and friendly chat, 
while * their children ' are leaping around them and swinging 
from branch to branch in boisterous merriment. " * And Herr 
von Koppenfells assures us that the Chimpanzee, like the 
Gorilla, builds a nest for the young and female on a forked 
branch, the male himself spending the night lower down in 
the tree.^ 

Passing from the highest monkeys to the savage and 
barbarous races of man, we meet with the same phenomenon. 
With the exception of a few cases in which certain tribes are 
asserted to live together promiscuously — almost all of which 

' Du Chaillu, * Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa,' 
p. 349. * Reade, * Savage Africa/ p. 214. ' /AeV/., pp. 218, 214. 

* V. Koppenfells, * Meine Jagden auf Gorillas,' in * Die Gartenlaube,' 
^^77^ PP- 418, et seq, 

* Savage, * On Troglodytes Niger,* in * Boston Journal of Natural 
History,' vol. iv. p. 385. • * Die Gartenlaube,' 1877, p. 418. 


assertions I shall prove further on to be groundless — travellers 
unanimously agree that in the human race the relations of 
the sexes are, as a rule, of a more or less durable character. 
The family consisting of father, mother, and offspring, is a I 
universal institution, whether founded on a monogamous 
polygynous, or polyandrous marriage. And, as among the 
lower animals having the same habit, it is to the mother that 
the immediate care of the children chiefly belongs, while the 
father is the protector and guardian of the family. Man in 
the savage state is generally supposed to be rather indifferent 
to the welfare of his wife and children, and this is really often 
the case, especially if he be compared with civilized man. 
But the simplest paternal duties are, nevertheless, universally 
recognized. If he does nothing else, the father builds the 
habitation, and employs himself in the chase and in war. 

Thus, among the North American Indians, it was considered 
disgraceful for a man to have more wives than he was able 
to maintain.^ Mr. Powers says that among the Patwin, a 
Californian tribe which ranks among the lowest in the world, 
" the sentiment that the men are bound to support the women 
— ^that is, to furnish the supplies — is stronger even than among 
us." * Among the Iroquois it was the office of the husband " to 
make a mat, to repair the cabin of his wife, or to construct a 
new one." The product of his hunting expeditions, during 
the first year of marriage, belonged of right to his wife, and 
afterwards he shared it equally with her, whether she re- 
mained in the village, or accompanied him to the chase.^ 
Azara states that among the Charruas of South America, 
" du moment oil un homme se marie, il forme une famille a 
part, et travaille pour la nourrir ; " * and among the Fuegians, 
according to Admiral Fitzroy, " as soon as a youth is able to 
maintain a wife, by his exertions in fishing or bird-catching, 
he obtains the consent of her relations." * Again, among the 

* Waitz, ' Anthropologie der Naturvolker,' vol. iii. p. 109. Carver, 
* Travels through the Interior Parts of North America,' p. 367. 

* Powers, * Tribes of California,' p. 222. 

3 Heriot, * Travels through the Canadas/ p. 338. 

* Azara, 'Voyages dans TAm^riqae mdridionale,' vol. ii. p. 22. 

* King and Fitzroy, * Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle ^ vol. ii. 
p. 182. 


utterly rude Botocudos, whose girls are married very young, 
remaining in the house of the father till the age of puberty, 
the husband is even then obliged to maintain his wife, 
though living apart from her.^ 

To judge from the recent account of Herr Lumholtz, the 
paternal duties seem to be scarcely recognized by the natives 
of Queensland.* But with reference to the Kurnai in South 
Australia, Mr. Howitt states that " the man has to provide for 
his family with the assistance of his wife. His share is to 
hunt for their support, and to fight for their protection." As 
a Kurnai once said to him, " A man hunts, spears fish, fights, 
and sits about." » And in the Encounter Bay tribe the 
paternal care is considered so indispensable, that, if the father 
dies before a child is born, the child is put to death by the 
mother, as there is no longer any one to provide for it* 

Among the cannibals of New Britain, the chiefs have to see 
that the families of the warriors are properly maintained, g.nd 
'* should a man neglect his family," says Mr. Angas, " a mode 
of punishment very similar to one practised by school-boys 
amongst civilized nations is adopted."* Speaking of the 
marriage of the Tonga Islanders, Martin remarks, " A married 
woman is one who cohabits with a man, and lives under his 
roof and protection ; " ^ and in Samoa, according to Mr. 
Pritchard, " whatever intercourse may take place between the 
sexes, a woman does not become a man*s wife unless the 
latter take her to his own house/* ^ In Radack, as we are 
informed by Chamisso, even natural children are received by 
the father into his house, as soon as they are able to walk.® 

The Rev. D. Macdonald states that, in some African tribes, 
** a father has to fast after the birth of his child, or take some 
such method of showing that he recognizes that he as well as 

* V. Tschudi, * Reisen durch Siidamerika,* vol. ii. p. 283. 

* Lumholtz, 'Among Cannibals,' p. 161. 

3 Fison and Howitt, * Kamilaroi and Kurnai,' p. 206. 

* Meyer, * Manners and Customs of the Encounter Bay Tribe,' in 
Woods, 'The Native Tribes of South Australia,' p. 186. 

* Angas, * Polynesia,' p. 373. 

* Martin, 'Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands/ vol. ii. p. 167. 
^ Pritchard, ' Polynesian Reminiscences,' p. 134. 

* Kotzebue, 'Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea,' vol. iii. p. 173. 


the mother should take care of the young stranger." ^ Certain 
Africans will not even go on any warlike expedition when 
they have a young child ; * and the South American Guaranies, 
while their wives are pregnant, do not risk their lives in 
hunting wild beasts.' In Lado the bridegroom has to assure 
his father-in-law three times that he will protect his wife, 
calling the people present to witness.* And among the 
Touaregs, according to Dr. Chavanne, a man who deserts his 
wife is blamed, as he has taken upon himself the obligation of 
maintaining her.^ 

The wretched Rock Veddahs in Ceylon, according to Sir 
J. Emerson Tennent, "acknowledge the marital obligation 
and the duty of supporting their own families." * Among the 
Maldivians, " although a man is allowed four wives at one 
time, it is only on condition of his being able to support 
them." ^ The Nagas are not permitted to marry, until they 
are able to set up house on their own account.® The Nairs, 
we are told, consider it a husband's duty to provide his wife 
with food, clothing, and ornaments ; • and almost the same is 
said by Dr. Schwaner with reference to the tribes of the 
Barito district, in the south-east part of Borneo.^^ A Burmese 
woman can demand a divorce, if her husband is not able to 
maintain her properly.^^ Among the Mohammedans, the 
maintenance of the children devolves so exclusively on the 
father, that the mother is even entitled to claim wages for 
nursing them.^^ And among the Romans, manus implied not 
only the wife's subordination to the husband, but also the 
husband's obligation to protect the wife.^' 

^ Macdonald, ' Africana,' vol. i. p. 14. 

* Ibid.^ vol. i. p. 139. ' Letoumeau, * Sociology,' p. 386. 

* Wilson and Felkin, ^ Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan,' vol. ii. p. 90. 
^ Chavanne, ' Die Sahara,' p. 209. 

^ Emerson Tennent, * Ceylon,' vol. ii. p. 441 . 

7 Rosset, * On the Maldive Islands,' in 'Journal of the Anthropological 
Institute,' vol. xvi. pp. 168, et seq. 

* Stewart, 'Notes on Northern Cachar,' in 'Journal of the Asiatic 
Society of Bengal,' vol. xxiv. p. 614. 

* Emerson Tennent, vol. ii. pp. 458,^/ j^f. note i. 

1'^ Schwaner, ' Borneo,' vol. i. p. 199. " Fytche, 'Burma,' vol. ii. p. 73. 
^2 < Das Ausland,' 1875, p. 958. 

13 Rossbach, * Untersuchungen iiber die romische Ehe/ p 32, &c. 



The father's place in the family being that of a supporter 
and protector, a man is often not permitted to marry until he 
has given some proof of his ability to fulfil these duties. 

The Koyfikuns believe that a youth who marries before he 
has killed a deer will have no children.^ The aborigines of 
Pennsylvania considered it a shame for a boy to think of 
a wife before having given some proof of his manhood. 
Among the wild Indians of British Guiana, says Mr. Im 
Thum, before a man is allowed to choose a wife he must 
prove that he can do a man's work and is able to support 
himself and his family.' Among the Dyaks of Borneo,* the 
Nagas of Upper Assam,^ and the Alfura of Ceram,* no one 
can marry unless he has in his possession a certain number of 
heads. The Karmanians, according to Strabo, were con- 
sidered marriageable only after having killed an enemy.^ The 
desire of a Galla warrior is to deprive the enemy of his 
genitals, the possession of such a trophy being a necessary 
preliminary to marriage.® Among the Bechuana and Kafir 
tribes south of the Zambesi, the youth is not allowed to take 
a wife until he has killed a rhinoceros.* In the Marianne 
Group, the suitor had to give proof of his bodily strength and 
skill.!® And among the Arabs of Upper Egypt, the man must 
undergo an ordeal of whipping by the relations of his bride, 
in order to test his courage. If he wishes to be considered 
worth having, he must receive the chastisement, which is some- 
times exceedingly severe, with an expression of enjoyment.^^ 

The idea that a man is bound to maintain his family is, 
indeed, so closely connected with that of marriage and father- 

^ Dal], 'Alaska and its Resources,' p. 196. 

' Buchanan, ' Sketches of the History, Manners, and Customs of the 
North American Indians,' p. 323. 

' Im Thum, * Among the Indians of Guiana,' p. 221. Cf, v. Martins, 
' Beitrage zur Ethnographic Amerika's,' vol. i. pp. 247, 645, 688. 

* Wilkes, * United States Exploring Expedition,' voL v. p. 363. Bock, 
' The Head-Hunters of Borneo,' pp. 216, 221, &c. 

* Dalton, * Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal,' p. 4a 

® Bickmore, * Travels in the East Indian Archipelago,' p. 205. 
' Strabo, * rforypot^uo,* book xv. p. 727. * Waitz, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 515. 
^ Livingstone, ' Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa,' 
p. 147. " Freycinet, * Voyage autour du monde,' vol. ii. pp. 277, et seq, 
" Baker, * The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia,' p. 125. 


hood, that sometimes even repudiated wives with their children 
are, at least to a certain extent, supported by their former 
husbands. This is the case among the Chukchi of North- 
western Asia,^ the Sotho Negroes in Southern Africa,^ and the 
Munda Kols in Chota Nagpore.* Further, a wife frequently 
enjoys her husband's protection even after sexual relations 
have been broken off. And upon his death, the obligation of 
maintaining her and her children devolves on his heirs, the 
wide-spread custom of a man marrying the widow of his 
deceased brother being, as we shall see in a subsequent 
chapter, not only a privilege belonging to the man, but, among 
several peoples, even a duty. We may thus take for granted 
that in the human race, at least at its present stage, the father 
has to perform the same function as in other animal species, 
where the connections between the sexes last longer than the 
sexual desire. 

In encyclopedical and philosophical works we meet with 
several different definitions of the word marriage. Most of 
these definitions are, however, of a merely juridical or ethical 
nature, comprehending either what is required to make the 
union legal,* or what, in the eye of an idealist, the union 
ought to be.* But it is scarcely necessary to say how far I 
am here from using the word in either of these senses. It is 
the natural history of human marriage that is the object of 
this treatise ; and, from a scientific point of view, I think there 
is but one definition which may claim to be generally ad- 
mitted, that, namely, according to which marriage is nothing 1 
else than a more or less durable connection between male and 
female, lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after 

^ Hooper, * Ten Months among the Tents of the Tuski,' p. 100. 

• Endemann, * Mittheilungen iiber die Sotho-Neger,' in *Zeitschrift fur 
Ethnologie,' vol. vi. p. 40. 

• Jellinghaus, * Sagen, Sitten und Gebrauche der Munda- Kolhs in 
Chota Nagpore,' ibid.y vol. iii. p. 370. 

* * Union d'un homme et d'une femme, faite dans les formes Idgales ' 
(Larousse, * Grand dictionnaire universel de XIX« sifecle,' vol. x. p. 1174). 

* ' Die Verbindung zweyer Personcn verschiedenen Geschlechts zum 
lebenswierigen wechselseitigen Besitz ihrer Geschlechtseigenschaften ' 
(Kant, * Die Metaphysik der Sitten,' vol. i. p. 107). 

C 2 


the birth of the offspring. This definition is wide enough to 
include all others hitherto given, and narrow enough to ex- 
clude those wholly loose connections which by usage are never 
honoured with the name of marriage. It implies not only 
sexdal relations, but also living together, as is set forth in 
the proverb of the Middle Ages, "Boire, manger, coucher 
ensemble est mariage, ce me semble." ^ And, though rather 
vague, which is a matter of course, it has the advantage of 
comprehending in one notion phenomena essentially similar 
and having a common origin. 

Thus, as appears from the preceding investigation, the first 
traces of marriage are found among the Chelonia. With the 
Birds it is an almost universal institution, whilst, among the 
Mammals, it is restricted to certain species only. We ob- 
served, however, that it occurs, as a rule, among the monkeys, 
especially the anthropomorphous apes, as well as in the races 
of men. Is it probable, then, that marriage was transmitted 
to man from some ape- like ancestor, and that there never was 
a time when it did not occur in the human race.? These 
questions cannot be answered before we have found out the 
cause to which it owes its origin. 

It is obvious that where the generative power is restricted 
to a certain season, it cannot be the sexual instinct that keeps 
male and female together for months or years. Nor is there 
any other egoistic motive that could probably account for 
this habit. Considering that the union lasts till after the 
birth of the offspring, and considering the care taken of this 
by the father, we may assume that the prolonged union of the 
sexes is, in some way or other, connected with parental duties. 
I am, indeed, strongly of opinion that the tie which joins 
male and female is an instinct developed through the power- 
ful influence of natural selection. It is evident that, when the 
father helps to protect the offspring, the species is better able 
to subsist in the struggle for existence than it would be if this 
obligation entirely devolved on the mother. Paternal affection 
and the instinct which causes male and female to form some- 
what durable alliances, are thus useful mental dispositions, 

* Schaffner, 'Geschichte der Rechtsverfassung Frankreichs,' vol. iii. 
p. 1 86. 


which, in all probability, have been acquired through the 
survival of the fittest. 

But how, then, can it be that among most animals the 
father never concerns himself about his progeny ? The answer 
is not difficult to find. Marriage is only one of many means 
by which a species is enabled to subsist Where parental 
care is lacking, we may be sure to find compensation for it 
in some other way. Among the Invertebrata, Fishes, and 
Reptiles, both parents are generally quite indifferent as to 
their progeny. An immense proportion of the progeny there- 
fore succumb before reaching maturity ; but the number of 
eggs laid is proportionate to the number of those lost, and the 
species is preserved nevertheless. If every grain of roe, 
spawned by the female fishes, were fecundated and hatched, 
the sea would not be large enough to hold all the creatures 
resulting from them. The eggs of Reptiles need no maternal 
care, the embryo being developed by the heat of the sun ; and 
their young are from the outset able to help themselves, 
leading the same life as the adults. Among Birds, on the 
other hand, parental care is an absolute necessity. Exjual 
and continual warmth is the first requirement for the develop- 
ment of the embryo and the preservation of the young ones. 
For this the mother almost always wants the assistance of the 
father, who provides her with necessaries, and sometimes 
relieves her of the brooding. Among Mammals, the young 
can never do without the mother at the tenderest age, but the 
father's aid is generally by no means indispensable. In some 
species, as the walrus,^ the elephant,* the Bos amertcanus,^ and 
the bat,* there seems to be a rather curious substitute for 
paternal protection, the females, together with their young 
ones, collecting in large herds or flocks apart from the males. 
Again, as to the marriage of the Primates, it is, I think, very 
probably due to the small number of young, the female 
bringing forth but one at a time ; and, among the highest 
apes, as in man, also to the long period of infancy.* Perhaps, 

* Brehm, ' Thierleben,' voL iii. p. 649. ' Idid.^ vol. iii. p. 479. 
' /did., vol. iii. p. 400. * I bid, , vol, i. p. 299. 

• The Orang-utan is said to be not full-grown till fifteen years of age 
(Mohnike, in *Das Ausland,' 1872, p. 850). Cf, Fiske, * Outlines of 
Cosmic Philosophy,' vol. ii. pp. 342, et seq. 




too, the defective family life of the Orang-utan, compared 
with that of the Gorilla and Chimpanzee, depends upon the 
fewer dangers to which this animal is exposed. For " except 
man," Dr. Mohnike says, " the Orang-utan in Borneo has no 
enemy of equal strength." ^ In short, the factors which the 
existence of a species depends upon, as the number of the 
progeny, their ability to help themselves when young, ma- 
ternal care, marriage, &c., vary indefinitely in different species. 
But in those that do not succumb, all these factors are more 
or less proportionate to each other, the product always being 
the maintenance of the species. 

Marriage and family are thus intimately connected with 
each other : it is for the benefit of the young that male and 
female continue to live together. Marriage is therefore rooted 
in family, rather than family in marriage. There are also 
many peoples among whom true conjugal life does not begin 
before a child is born, and others who consider that the birth 
of a child out of wedlock makes it obligatory for the parents 
to marry. Lieutenant Holm states that, among the Eastern 
Greenlanders, marriage is not regarded as complete till the 
woman has become a mother.* Among the Shawanese ' and 
Abipones,* the wife very often remains at her father's house 
till she has a child. Among the Khyens,* the Ainos of 
Yesso,* and one of the aboriginal tribes of China,^ the hus- 
band goes to live with his wife at her father's house, and never 
takes her away till after the birth of a child. In Circassia, 
the bride and bridegroom are kept apart until the first child 
is born ; ^ and among the Bedouins of Mount Sinai, a wife 
never enters her husband's tent until she becomes far advanced 
in pregnancy .• Among the Baele, the wife remains with her 
parents until she becomes a mother, and if this does not happen, 
she stays there for ever, the husband getting back what he has 

* * Das Ausland,' 1872, p. 894. * ' Science,' vol. vii. p. 172. 
' Moore, * Marriage Customs, Modes of Courtship,' &c., p. 292. 

* Klemm, 'Allgemeine Cultur-Geschichte dcr Menschheit,' vol. ii. p. 75. 

* Rowney, ' The Wild Tribes of India,' pp. 203, // s^g. 

* V. Siebold, ' Ethnologische Studien liber die Aino auf Yesso,' p. 31. 
7 Gray, * China,' vol. ii. p. 304. 

<* Lubbock, /oc. cit. p. 80. 

'J Burckhardt, 'Notes on the Bedouins and Wahibys,' p. 153, 


paid for her.^ In Siam, a wife does not receive her marriage 
portion before having given birth to a child ;* whilst among 
the Atkha Aleuts, according to Erman, a husband does not 
pay the purchase sum before he has become a father.' Again, 
the Badagas in Southern India have two marriage ceremonies, 
the second of which does not take place till there is some in- 
dication that the pair are to have a family ; and if there is no 
appearance of this, the couple not uncommonly separate.* 
Dr. B^renger-F^raud states that, among the Wolofs in Sene- 
gambia, "ce n'est que.lorsque les signes de la grossesse 
sont irrdcusables chez la fiancee, quelquefois m^me ce n'est 
qu'apr^s la naissance d'un ou plusieurs enfants, que la c6re- 
monie du mariage proprement dit s'accomplit" * And the 
Igorrotes of Luzon consider no engagement binding until the 
woman has become pregnant.* 

On the other hand, Emin Pasha tells us that, among the 
Mddi in Central Africa, "should a girl become pregnant, 
the youth who has been her companion is bound to marry 
her, and to pay to her father the customary price of a bride." ^ 
Burton reports a similar custom as prevailing among peoples 
dwelling to the south of the equator.® Among many of 
the wild tribes of Borneo, there is almost unrestrained inter- 
course between the youth of both sexes ; but, if pregnancy 
ensue, marriage is regarded as necessary.® The same, as I am 
informed by Dr. A. Bunker, is the case with some Karen tribes 
in Burma. In Tahiti, according to Cook, the father might 

^ Nachtigal, 'Sahara und Sudan/ vol. ii. p. 177. 

* Bock, 'Temples and Elephants,* p. 186. 

' Erman, ' Ethnographische Wahmehmungen an den Kiisten des 
Berings-Meeres,' in * Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie,* vol. iii. p. 162. 

* Harkness, ' The Neilgherry Hills,' p. 116. 

* BArenger-F^raud, 'Le mariage chez les N^gres S^ndgambiens,' in 
* Revue d*Anthropologie,* 1 883, pp. 286, et seq* 

* Blumentritt, * Versuch einer Ethnographic der Philippinen,* pp. 27, 
et seg. ^ * Emin Pasha in Central Africa,' p. 103. ® Ibid,^ p. 103. 

* St. John, 'Wild Tribes of the North- West Coast of Borneo,' in 
'Transactions of the Ethnological Society,' new series, vol. ii. p. 237. 
Low, 'Sarawak/ p. 195. Wilken, ' Plechtigheden en gebruiken bij 
verlovingen en huwelijken bij de volken van den Indischen Archipel,' in 
' Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde van Nederlandsch- Indie,' 
ser. V. vol. iv. p. 442. 


kill his natural child, but if he suffered it to live, the parties 
were considered to be in the married state.^ Among the 
Tipperahs of the Chittagong Hills,* as well as the peasants of 
the Ukraine,* a seducer is bound to marry the girl, should she 
become pregnant. Again, Mr. Powers informs us that, among 
the Californian Wintun, if a wife is abandoned when she 
has a young child, she is justified by her friends in destroying 
it on the ground that it has no supporter.* And among the 
Creeks, a young woman that becomes pregnant by a man 
whom she had expected to marry, and is disappointed, is 
allowed the same privilege.* 

It might, however, be supposed that, in man, the pro- 
longed union of the sexes is due to another cause besides the 
offspring's want of parental care, />., to the fact that the 
sexual instinct is not restricted to any particular season, but 
endures throughout the whole year. " That which distinguishes 
man from the beast," Beaumarchais says, " is drinking without 
being thirsty, and making love at all seasons." But in the 
next chapter, I shall endeavour to show that this is probably 
not quite correct, so far as our earliest human or semi-human 
ancestors are concerned. 

* Cook, 'Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,' vol. ii. p. 157. 

* Lewin, ' Wild Races of South- Eastern India,' p. 202. 

' V. 2migrodzki, * Die Mutter bei den V61kem des arischen Stammes, 
pp. 246-248. Cf, Man, ' On the Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman 
Islands,' in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst./ vol xii. p. 81 (Andamanese). 

* Powers, loc, ciL p. 239. 

* Schoolcraft, 'Archives of Aboriginal Knowledge/ vol. v. p. 272. 



Professor Leuckart assumes that the periodicity in the 
sexual life of animals depends upon economical conditions, the 
reproductive matter being a surplus of the individual economy. 
Hence he says that the rut occurs at the time when the pro- 
portion between receipts and expenditure is most favourable.* 

Though this hypothesis is accepted by several eminent phy- 
siologists, facts do not support the assumption that the power 
of reproduction is correlated with abundance of food and 
bodily vigour. There are some writers who even believe that 
the reverse is the case.* 

At any rate, it is not correct to say, with Dr. Gruenhagen, 
that "the general wedding-feast is spring, when awakening 
nature opens, to most animals, new and ample sources of 
living."* This is certainly true of Reptiles and Birds, but 
not of Mammals. Every month or season of the year is the 
pairing season of one or another mammalian species. Thus, 
the bat pairs in January and February ; * the wild camel in 
the desert to the east of Lake Lob-nor, from the middle of 

* Wagner, * Handworterbuch dcr Physiologic,' vol. iv. p. 862. Gruen- 
hagen, * Lehrbuch der Physiologic,' vol. iii. p. 528. Cf, Haycraft, ' Some 
Physiological Results of Temperature Variations,' in ' Transactions of the 
Royal Society of Edinburgh,' vol. xxix. p. 130. 

* Janke, ' Die willkurlichc Hervorbringung des Geschlechts,' pp. 220-222. 
^ Gruenhagen, vol. iii. p. 528. 

* Brehm, * Thierleben,' vol. i. p. 299. • 


January nearly to the end of February ; ^ the Cants Azarae * 
and the Indian bison,' in winter ; the wild cat * and the fox,^ 
in February; the weasel, in March ;* the kulan, from May to 
July ;^ the musk-ox, at the end of August ;* the elk, in the 
Baltic Provinces, at the end of August, and, in Asiatic Russia, 
in September or October ; • the wild yak in Tibet, in Sept- 
ember ; *® the reindeer in Norway, at the end of September ; ^^ 
the badger, in October ;" the Capra pyrenaica^ in November ; 
the chamois," the musk-deer,^ and the orongo-antelope," in 
November and December; the wolf, from the end of December 
to the middle of February.^^ But notwithstanding this apparent 
irregularity, the pairing time of every species is bound by an 
unfailing law : it sets in earlier or later, according as the period 
of gestation lasts longer or shorter, so that the young may be 
bom at the time when they are most likely to survive. Thus, 
most Mammals bring forth their young early in spring, or, in 
tropical countries, at the b^inning of the rainy season ; the 
period then commences when life is more easily sustained, when 
prey is most abundant, when there is enough water and 
vegetable food, and when the climate becomes warmer. In the 
highlands, animals pair later than those living in lower regions,^^ 
whilst those of the polar and temperate zones generally pair 
later than those of the tropics. As regards the species living 
in different latitudes, the pairing time comes earlier or later, 
according to the differences in climate." 

Far from depending upon any general physiological law, 
the rut is thus adapted to the requirements of each species 

* Prcjevalsky, ' From Kulja to Lob-nor,' p. 91. 

* Rengger, loc, cit p. 147. * Forsyth, loc, cit p. 108. 

* Brehm, * Thierlebcn,' voL i. p. 453. * IbidLy vol. i. p. 662. 

* Ibid,y vol. ii. p. 84. ^ Ibid.^ vol. iii. p. 19. 

® Ibid,y vol. iii. p. 377. • Ibid.^ vol. iii. p. in. 

'^ Prejevalsky, * Mongolia,' vol. ii. p. 192. 
^^ Brehm, vol. iii. p. 123. 

" /*///., vol. ii. p. 149, " Ibid,y voL iii. p. 3^1- 

" Ibid^ vol, iii. p. 274. " Ibid,^ vol. iii, p. 95, 

" Prcjevalsky, * Mongolia/ voL iL p. 205. ^^ Brehm, voL i. p. 534, 
*8 Ibid^ vol. iii. pp. 275, 302, Prejevalsky, * Mongolia,' vol. iL pp. 

*» Brehm, vol. i. pp. 370, 404, 431 ; vol. ii. pp. 6, 325, 420 ; vol. iii. pp. 

in, 158,159,578, 599. 


separately. Here again we have an example of the powerful 
effects of natural selection, often showing themselves very 
obviously. The dormouse {Muscardinus avellanarius)^ for in- 
stance, that feeds upon hazel-nuts, pairs in July, and brings 
forth its young in August, when nuts begin to ripen. Then 
the young grow very quickly, so that they are able to bear 
the autumn and winter cold.^ 

There are, however, a few wild species, as some whales,* 
the elephant,* many Rodents,* and several of the lower 
monkeys,* that seem to have no definite pairing season. As 
to them it is, perhaps, sufficient to quote Dr. Brehm's state- 
ment with reference to the elephant, " The richness of their 
woods is so great, that they really never suffer want." * But 
the man-like apes do not belong to this class. According to 
Mr. Winwood Reade, the male Gorillas fight at the rutting 
season for their females ;^ and Dr. Mohnike, as also other 
authorities, mentions the occurrence of a rut-time with the 
Orang-utan.® Unfortunately, however, we are not informed 
in which season of the year this occurs. But it cannot depend 
on any other law than that which prevails in the rest of the 
animal kingdom. Considering, then, the import of this law, 
considering that the periodicity of the sexual life rests on the 
kind of food on which the species lives, together with other 
circumstances connected with anatomical and physiological 
peculiarities, and considering, further, the close biological re- 
semblance between man and the man-like apes, we are almost 
compelled to assume that the pairing time of our earliest 
human or half-human ancestors was restricted to a certain 
season of the year, as was also the case with their nearest 

* Brehm, ' Thierleben,' vol. ii. p. 313, * Ibid,, vol. iii. pp. 699, 723. 
5 Ibid,, vol. iii. p. 482. * Ibid., vol. ii. p. 440. 

* Ibid,, vol. i. pp. 119, 147, 182, 228. Schomburgk, loc. ciL vol. ii. 

p. 767. 

« Brehm, vol iii. p. 480. It is also remarkable that the birds on the 

Galapagos Islands, which are situated almost on the equator, seem to 

have no definite breeding season (Markham, ' Visit to the Galapagos 

Islands,' in ' Proceed. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' N. S. vol. ii. p. 753). 

"^ Reade, loc. cit, p. 214. 

* *Das Ausland,' 1872, p. 850. Hartmann, loc, cit. ^,22,0, Huxley, 
' Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature,' p. 33. 


relations among the lower animals. This presumption derives 
further probability from there being, even now, some rude 
peoples who are actually stated to have an annual pairing 
time, and other peoples whose sexual instinct undergoes most 
decidedly a periodical increase at a certain time of the year. 

According to Mr. Johnston, the wild Indians of California, 
belonging to the lowest races on earth, "have their rutting 
seasons as regularly as have the deer, the elk, the antelope, or 
any other animals." ^ And Mr. Powers confirms the correct- 
ness of this statement, at least with regard to some of these 
Indians, saying that spring "is a literal Saint Valentine's 
Day with them, as with the natural beasts and birds of the 
forest." 2 

Speaking of the Watch-an-dies in the western part of 
Australia, Mr. Oldfield remarks, " Like the beasts of the field, 
the savage has but one time for copulation in the year.' About 
the middle of spring, when the yams are in perfection, when 
the young of all animals are abundant, and when eggs and 
other nutritious food are to be had, the Watch-an-dies begin 
to think of holding their grand semi-religious festival of Caa-ro, 
preparatory to the performance of the important duty of pro- 
creation." * A similar feast, according to Mr. Bonwick, was 
celebrated by the Tasmanians at the same time of the year.* 

The Hos, an Indian hill tribe, have, as we are informed by 
Colonel Dalton, every year a great feast in January, " when 
the granaries are full of grain, and the people, to use their 
own expression, full of devilry. They have a strange notion 
that at this period, men and women are so over-charged with 
vicious propensities, that it is absolutely necessary for the 
safety of the person to let off steam by allowing for a time 
full vent to the passions. The festival, therefore, becomes a 
saturnalia, during which servants forget their duty to their 
masters, children their reverence for parents, men their respect 

* Schoolcraft, ioc, cit vol. iv. p. 224. * Powers, ioc, cit p. 206. 
' This statement seems, however, to be an exaggeration (cf. Curr, 

* The Australian Race,' vol. i. pp. 310, ^Z seq^, 

* Oldfield, 'The Aborigines of Australia,' in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. 
vol. iii. p. 230. 

^ Bonwick, ' Daily Life and Origin of the Tasmanians,' p. 198. 


for women, and women all notions of modesty, delicacy, and 
gentleness." Men and women become almost like animals in 
the indulgence of their amorous propensities, and the utmost 
liberty is given to the girls.* 

The same writer adds that "it would appear that most Hill 
Tribes have found it necessary to promote marriage by stimu- 
lating intercourse between the sexes at particular seasons of 
the year." * Among the Santals, " the marriages mostly take 
place once a year, in January : for six days all the candidates 
for matrimony live in promiscuous concubinage, after which 
the whole party are supposed to have paired off as man and 
wife." * The Punjas in Jeypore, according to Dr. Shortt, have 
a festival in the first month of the new year, where men and 
women assemble. The lower orders or castes observe this 
festival, which is kept up for a month, by both sexes mixing 
promiscuously, and taking partners as their choice directs.* 
A similar feast, comprising a continuous course of debauchery 
and licentiousness, is held, once a year, by the Kotars, a tribe 
inhabiting the Neilgherries ; ^ according to Mr. Bancroft, by 
the Keres in New Mexico ; * according to Dr. Fritsch, by the 
Hottentots ; ^ and, as I am informed by Mr. A. J. Swann, by 
some tribes near Nyassa. Again, at Rome, a festival in honour 
of Venus took place in the month of April ; ® and Mannhardt 
mentions some curious popular customs in Germany, England, 
Esthonia, and other European countries, which seem to in- 
dicate an increase of the sexual instinct in spring or at the 
beginning of summer,® 

^ Dakon, loc, ciL pp. 196, et seq, ' Ibid,^ p. 300. 

' Watson and Kayc, *The People of India,' vol. i. no. 2. Rowney, 
loc. cit, p. 76. 

* Shortt, * Contribution to the Ethnology of Jeypore,' in ' Trans. Ethn. 
Soc.,' N. S, vol. vi. p. 269. 

* Idem^ 'Account of the Hill Tribes of the Neilgherries,' in * Trans. 
Ethn^ Soc.,' N. S. vol. vii, p. 282. 

* Bancroft, * Native Races of the Pacific States,' vol. i. pp. 551, et seq. 
^ Fritsch, * Die Eingeborenen Siid-Afrika's,* p. 328. 

® Westropp and Wake, * Ancient Symbol Worship,' p. 26. 

^ Mannhardt, *Wald- und Feldkulte,' vol. i. ch. v. §§ 8-1 1, especially 
pp. 449, 450, 469, 480, ei seq. See also Kulischer, ' Die geschlechtliche 
Zuchtwahlbei den Menschen in der Urzeit,'in 'Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie,' 
vol. viii. pp. 152-156. 


By questions addressed to persons living among various 
savage peoples, I have inquired whether, among these peoples, 
marriages are principally contracted at a certain time of the 
year, and whether more children are born in one month or 
season than in another. In answer, Mr. Radfield writes from 
Lifu, near New Caledonia, that marriages there formerly took 
place at various times, when suitable, but " November used to 
be the time at which engagements were made." As the 
seasons in this island are the reverse of those in England, this 
month includes the end of spring and the beginning of summer. 
The Rev. H. T. Cousins informs me that, among the Kafirs 
inhabiting what is known as Cis-Natalian Kafirland, *' there 
are more children born in one month or season than in another, 
viz. August and September, which are the spring months in 
South Africa ; " and he ascribes this surplus of births to feasts, 
comprising debauchery and unrestricted intercourse between 
the unmarried people of both sexes. Again, Dr. A. Sims 
writes from Stanley Pool that, among the Bateke, more 
children are born in September and October, that is, in the 
seasons of the early rains, than at other times ; and the Rev. 
Ch. E. Ingham, writing from Banza Manteka, states that he 
believes the same to be the case among the Bakongo. But 
the Rev. T. Bridges informs me that, among the Yahgans in 
the southern part of Tierra del Fuego, so far as he knows, one 
month is the same as another with regard to the number of 
births. I venture, however, to think that this result might be 
somewhat modified by a minute inquiry, embracing a suflScient 
number of cases. For statistics prove that, even in civilized 
countries, there is a regular periodical fluctuation in the 

In the eighteenth century Wargentin showed that, in 
Sweden, more children were born in one month than in 
another.^ The same has since been found to be the case in 
other European countries. According to Wappaus, the 
number of births in Sardinia, Belgium, Holland, and Sweden 
is subject to a regular increase twice a year, the maximum of 

^ Wargentin, ' Uti hvilka Manader flera Manniskor irligen f6das och 
do i Sverige,' in * Kongl. Vetenskaps-academiens Handlingar,' vol.xxviii. 
pp. 249-258. 


the first increase occurring in February or March, that of the 
second in September and October.^ M. Sormani observed 
that, in the south of Italy, there is an increase only once in 
the year, but more to the north twice, in spring and in autumn.^ 
Dr. Mayr and Dr. Beukemann found in Germany two annual 
maxima— in February or March, and in September ; — * and 
Dr. Haycraft states that, in the eight largest towns of 
Scotland, more children are bom in legitimate wedlock in 
April than in any other month.* As a rule, according to M. 
Sormani, the first annual augmentation of births has its 
maximum, in Sweden, in March ; in France and Holland, 
between February and March ; in Belgium, Spain, Austria, 
and Italy, in February ; in Greece, in January ; so that it 
comes earlier in southern Europe than farther to the north.* 
Again, the second annual increase is found more considerable 
the more to the north we go. In South Germany it is smaller 
than the first one, but in North Germany generally larger ; * 
and in Sweden it is decidedly larger/ 

As to non-European countries, Wappaus observed that, in 
Massachusetts, the birth-rate likewise underwent an increase 
twice a year, the maxima falling in March and September ; 
and that, in Chili, many more children were born in September 
and October — />., at the beginning of spring — than in any 
other month.® Finally, Mr. S. A. Hill, of Allahabad, has 
proved, by statistical data, that, among the Hindus of that 
province, the birth-rates exhibit a most distinct annual 
variation, the minimum falling in June and the maximum 
in September and October.® 

' Wappaus, ' Allgetneine BevSlkerungsstatistik,' vol. i. p. 237. 

' Sormani, ' La feconditk et la mortality uxnana in rapporto alle stagioni 
ed ai clima d'ltalia ; ' quoted by Mayr, ' Die Gesetzmassigkeit im Gesell- 
schaftsleben,' p. 242. 

' Mayr, p. 240. Beukemann, ' £in Beitrag zur Untersuchung iiber die 
Vertheilung der Geburten nach Monaten,' pp. 15-22. 

* Haycraft, in * Trans. Roy. Soc Edinburgh,' vol. xxix. pp. 119, ^/ seq, 
^ Mayr, p. 241. ' Beukemann, p. 26. 

7 Wargentin, in * Kongl. Vet.-acad. Hand!.,' vol. xxviii. p. 252. 
Wappaus, vol. i. p. 237. 

• Wappaus, vol. i. pp. 250, 237. 

® Hill, * The Life Statistics of an Indian Province,* in * Nature,' vol. 
xxxviii. p. 250. 


This unequal distribution of births over the different months 
of the year is ascribed to various causes by statisticians. It 
is,however,generally admitted that the maximum in February 
and March (in Chili, September) is, at least to a great extent, 
due to the sexual instinct being strongest in May and June 
(in Chili, December).^ This is the more likely to be the case, 
as it is especially illegitimate births that are then comparatively 
numerous. And it appears extremely probable that, in Africa 
also, the higher birth-rates in the seasons of the early rains 
owe their origin to the same cause. 

Thus, comparing the facts stated, we find, among various 
races of men, the sexual instinct increasing at the end of 
spring, or, rather, at the beginning of summer. Some peoples 
of India seem to form an exception to this rule, lascivious fes- 
tivals, in the case of several of them, taking place in the month 
of January, and the maximum of births, among the Hindus of 
Allahabad, falling at the end of the hot season, or in early 
autumn. But in India also there are traces of strengthened 
passions in spring. M. Rousselet gives the following descrip- 
tion of the indecent Holi festival, as it is celebrated among 
the Hindus of Oudeypour. "The festival of Holi marks the 
arrival of spring, and is held in honour of the goddess Holica, 
or Vasanti, who personifies that season in the Hindu 
Pantheon. The carnival lasts several days, during which 
time the most licentious debauchery and disorder reign 
throughout every class of society. It is the regular saturnalia 
of India. Persons of the greatest respectability, without 
regard to rank or age, are not ashamed to take part in the 
orgies which mark this season of the year. The festivities 
do not become really uproarious until the last two days ; but 
from the very beginning effigies of the most revolting in- 
decency are set up at the gates of the town and in the 
principal thoroughfares. Women and children crowd round 
the hideous fdols of the feast of Holica, and deck them with 
flowers ; and immorality reigns supreme in the streets of 
the capital."* Among the Aryans who inhabited the plains 

^ See, for instance. Floss, * Das Wcib/ vol. i. p. 414 ; Wappaus, loc. ciL 
vol. i. pp. 239, 247. 
■^ Rousselet, * India and its Native Princes,* p. 173. 


of the North, the spring or " vasanta," corresponding to the 
months of March and April, was the season of love and 
pleasure, celebrated in song by the poets, and the time for 
marriages and religious feasts.^ And among the Rajputs of 
Mewar, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Tod, the last days 
of spring are dedicated to Camd^va, the god of love : " the 
scorching winds of the hot season are already beginning to 
blow, when Flora droops her head, and the * god of love turns 
anchorite/ " ^ 

We must not, however, infer that this enhancement of the 
procreative power is to be attributed directly to "the different 
positions of the sun with respect to the earth," * or to the 
temperature of a certain season. The phenomenon does not 
immediately spring from this cause in the case of any other 
animal species. Neither can it be due to abundance of food. 
In the northern parts of Europe many more conceptions take 
place in the months of May and June, when the conditions of 
life are often rather hard, than in September, October, and 
November, when the supplies of food are comparatively 
plentiful. In the north-western provinces of Germany, as 
well as in Sweden, the latter months are characterized by a 
minimum of conceptions.* Among the Kafirs, more children 
are conceived in November and December than in any other 
month, although, according to the Rev. H. T. Cousins, food 
is most abundant among them from March to September. 
And among the Bateke, the maximum of conceptions falls 
in December and January, although food is, as I am informed 
by Dr. Sims, most plentiful in the dry season, that is, from 
May to the end of August. 

On the other hand, the periodical increase of conceptions 
cannot be explained by the opposite hypothesis, entertained 
by some physiologists, that the power of reproduction is in- 
creased by want and distress. Among the Western Austra- 
lians^ and Californians,® for instance, the season of love is 

* Reclus, * Nouvelle g^ographie universelle,' vol. viii. p. 70, 

* Tod, ' Annals and Antiquities of Rajastlian,' vol. L 495. 
' Villerm^, quoted by Quetelet, * Treatise on Man,' p. 21. 

* Beukemann, /oc. cit, pp. 18, 28. 

* See ante^ p* 28. ® Powers, loc. cit p. 206. 



accompanied by a surplus of food, and in the land of the 
Bakongo, among whom Mr. Ingham believes most concep- 
tions to take place in December and January, food is, accord- 
ing to him, most abundant precisely in these months and in 

It seems, therefore, a reasonable presumption that the in- 
crease of the sexual instinct at the end of spring or in the 
beginning of summer, is a survival of an ancient pairing 
season, depending upon the same law that rules in the rest 
of the animal kingdom. Since spring is rather a time of 
want than a time of abundance for a frugivorous species, it 
is improbable that our early ancestors, as long as they fed 
upon fruits, gave birth to their young at the beginning of that 
period. It is also improbable that the man-like apes at 
present do so. But when man began to feed on herbs, roots, 
and animal food, the case was altered. Spring is the season 
of the re-awakening of life, when there are plenty of vegetables 
and prey. Hence those children whose infancy fell in this 
period survived more frequently than those born at any other. 
Considering that the parents of at least a few of them must 
have had an innate tendency to the increase of the power of 
reproduction at the beginning of summer, and considering, 
further, that this tendency must have been transmitted to 
some of the offspring, like many other characteristics which 
occur periodically at certain seasons,^ we can readily under- 
stand that gradually, through the influence of natural selection, 
a race would emerge whose pairing time would be exclusively 
or predominantly restricted to the season most favourable to 
its subsistence. To judge from the period when most children 
are bom among existing peoples, the pairing season of our 
prehistoric ancestors occurred, indeed, somewhat earlier in 
the year than is the case with the majority of mammalian 
species. But we must remember that the infancy of man is 
unusually long ; and, with regard to the time most favourable 
to the subsistence of children, we must take into consideration 
not only the first days of their existence, but the first period 
of their infancy in general. Besides food and warmth, several 
other factors affect the welfare of the offspring, and it is 
* Cf, Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. L p. 354. 



often difficult to find out all of them. We do not know the 
particular circumstances that make the badger breed at the 
end of February or the beginning of March/ and the rein- 
deer of the Norwegian mountains as early as April ; * 
but there can be no doubt that these breeding seasons are 
adapted to the requirements of the respective species. 

The cause of the winter maximum of conceptions, especially 
considerable among the peoples of Northern Europe, is gener-. 
ally sought in social influences, as the quiet ensuing on the 
harvest time, the better food, and the amusements of Christ- 
mas.* But the people certainly recover before December 
from the labours of the field, and Christmas amusements, as 
Wargentin remarks, take place at the end of that month and 
far into January, without any particular influence upon the 
number of births in October being observable.* It has, further, 
been proved that the unequal distribution of marriages over 
the diflerent months exercises hardly any influence upon the 
distribution of births.^ Again, among the Hindus the 
December and January maximum of conceptions seems 
from the lascivious festivities of several Indian peoples to 
be due to an increase of the sexual instinct. According to 
Mr. Hill, this increase depends upon healthy conditions with 
an abundant food supply. But, as I have already said, it is 
not proved that a strengthened power of reproduction and 
abundance of food are connected with one another. 

I am far from venturing to express any definite opinion as 
to the cause of these particular phenomena, but it is not impos- 
sible that they also are eflects of natural selection, although of 
a comparatively recent date. Considering that the September 
maximum of births (or December maximum of conceptions) 
in Europe becomes larger the farther north we go ; that the 
agricultural peoples of Northern Europe have plenty of food 
in autumn and during the first part of winter, but often sufler 

* Brchm, * Thierleben,' vol. ii. p. 149. * Ibid,^ vol. iii. p. 124. 

' Wappaus, loc. cit vol. i. p. 241. 

^ Waigentin, in ' Kongl. Vet.-acad. HandL,' vol. xxviii. p. 254. 
^ Wappaus, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 242. Bertillon, * Natality (d^mographie)/ 
in ' Dictionnaire encyclopddique des sciences m^dicales,' ser. ii. vol. xi. 


D 2 


a certain degree of want in spring ; and, finally, that the winter 
cold does not affect the health of infants, the woods giving 
sufficient material for fuel, — it has occurred to me that children 
born in September may have a better chance of surviving 
than others. Indeed, Dr. Beukemann states that the number 
of stillborn births is largest in winter or at the beginning of 
spring, and that "the children born in autumn possess the 
greatest vitality and resisting power against the dangers of 
earliest infancy." ^ This would perhaps be an adequate expla- 
nation either of an increase of the sexual instinct or of greater 
disposition to impregnation in December. It is not impossible 
either, that the increase of the power of reproduction among 
the Hindus in December and January, which causes an in- 
crease of births in September and October — /. e., the end of 
the hot season and the beginning of winter — owes its origin 
to the fact that during the winter the granaries get filled, and 
some of the conditions of life become more healthy. But it 
should be remarked that September itself, according to Mr. 
Hill, is a very unhealthy month.* 

Now it can be explained, I believe for the first time, how 
it happens that man, unlike the lower animals, is not limited 
to a particular period of the year in which to court the female.^ 
The Darwinian theory of natural selection can, as it seems to 
me, account for the periodicity of the sexual instinct in such 
a rude race as the Western Australians, among whom the 
mortality of children is so enormous that the greater number 
of them do not survive even the first month after birth,* and 
who inhabit a land pre-eminently unproductive of animals 
and vegetables fitted to sustain human life, a land where, 
" during the summer seasons, the black man riots in com- 
parative abundance, but during the rest of the year, when 
vegetation is dormant, when some kinds of game have retired 
to winter quarters, and others, through frequent hunting, have 
become shy, and consequently difficult to capture, and when 
the fish, having performed their mission, have deserted the 

> Beukemann, loc. cit p. 59. * HiU, in' Nature,' vol. xxxviii. p. 250. 

3 Professor Nicholson says (* Sexual Selection in Man/ p. 9) that 
Darwinism y^7x to assign any adequate cause for this. 
* Waitz, ' Introduction to Anthropology,' p. 113. 


rivers, the struggle for existence becomes very severe." ^ The 
more progress man makes in arts and inventions ; the more 
he acquires the power of resisting injurious external influences ; 
the more he rids himself of the necessity of freezing when it 
is cold, and starving when nature is less lavish with food ; in 
short, the more independent he becomes of the changes of the 
seasons, — the greater is the probability that children bom at 
one time of the year will survive as well, or almost bls well, as 
those born at any other. Variations as regards the pairing 
time, always likely to occur occasionally, will do so the more 
frequently on account of changed conditions of life, which 
directly or indirectly cause variability of every kind ; * and 
these variations will be preserved and transmitted to following 
generations. Thus we can understand how a race has arisen, 
endowed with the ability to procreate children in any season. 
We can also understand how, even in such a rude race as the 
Yahgans in Tierra del Fuego, the seasonal distribution .of 
births seems to be pretty equal, as there is, according to the 
Rev. T. Bridges, " such a variety of food in the various seasons 
that there is strictly no period of hardship, save such as is 
caused by accidents of weather." We can explain, too, why 
the periodical fluctuation in the number of births, though com- 
paratively inconsiderable in every civilized society, is greater 
in countries predominantly agricultural, such as Chili, than 
in countries predominantly industrial, as Saxony ; why it 
is greater in rural districts than in towns ; * and why it 
was greater in Sweden in the middle of the last century than 
it is now.^ For the more man has abandoned natural life out of 
doors, the more luxury has increased and his habits have got 
refined, the greater is the variability to which his sexual life 
has become subject, and the smaller has been the influence 
exerted upon it by the changes of the seasons. 

Man has thus gone through the same transition as certain 

* Oldfield, in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,* N. S. vol. iii. pp. 269, e/seg. 

* Darwin, ' The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication,' 
vol. ii. p. 255. ' Wappaus, /oc. cit, vol. i. p. 247. 

* lifid,^ vol. i. p. 246. Quetelet, loc, cit. p. 20. Bertillon, in * Diction- 
naire encyclop^dique des sciences m^dicales,' ser. ii. vol. xi. p. 480. 

* Wappaus, vol. i. p. 343. 


domestic animals. The he-goat * and the ass in southern 
countries,* for instance, rut throughout the whole year. The 
domestic pig pairs generally twice a year, while its wild an- 
cestors had but one rutting season.^ Dr. Hermann Miiller 
has even observed a canary that laid eggs in autumn and 
winter.* Natural selection cannot, of course, account for 
such alterations : they fall under the law of variation. It 
is the limited pairing season that is a product of this 
powerful process, which acts with full force only under 
conditions free from civilization and domestication. 

If the hypothesis set forth in this chapter holds good, it 
must be admitted that the continued excitement of the sexual 
instinct could not have played a part in the origin of human 
marriage — provided that this institution did exist among 
primitive men. Whether this was the case I shall examine 
in the following chapters. 

* Brehm, * Thierlebcn,' vol. iii. p. 333. 

* Ibid,^ vol. iii. p. 43. ' Ibid.y vol. iii. pp. 557, 549. 

* Miiller, loc, cit pp. 2, 86, 104. I myself know of a canary that laid 
eggs as early as March. 



If it be admitted that marriage, as a necessary requirement 
for the existence of certain species, is connected with some 
peculiarities in their organism, and, more particularly among 
the highest monkeys, with the paucity of their progeny and 
their long period of infancy, — it must at the same time be 
admitted that, among primitive men, from the same causes 
as among these animals, the sexes in all probability kept 
together till after the birth of the offspring. Later on, when 
the human race passed beyond its frugivorous stage and 
spread over the earth, living chiefly on animal food, the assist- 
ance of an adult male became still more necessary for the 
subsistence of the children. Everywhere the chase devolves 
on the man, it being a rare exception among savage peoples 
for a woman to engage in it.^ Under such conditions a 
family consisting of mother and young only, would probably, 
as a rule, have succumbed. 

It has, however, been suggested that, in olden times, the 
natural guardian of the children was not the father, but the 
maternal uncle.* This inference has been drawn chiefly from 

^ Peschel, * The Races of Man,' pp^ 229, et seq. 

' Giraud-Teulon, 'Les orig^es du mariage et de la famille,' p. 148. 
Lippert, ' Kulturgeschichte der Menschheit,' vol. ii. pp. 54, et seq. Von 
HeUwald, * Die menschliche Familie,* p. 207 : * Was spater der Vater, 
das ist der Oheim zur Zeit des Mutterrechtes und des Matriarchats.' 
Kovalevsky, ' Tableau des origines et de revolution de la famille et de la 
propridt^,' pp. 15, 16, 21. 


the common practice of a nephew succeeding his mother's 
brother in rank and property. But sometimes the relation 
between the two is still more intimate. " La famille Malaise 
proprement dite — ^le Sa-Mandei, — " says a Dutch writer, as 
quoted by Professor Giraud-Teulon, " consiste dans la m^re 
et ses enfants : le p^re n'en fait point partie. Les liens de 
parent^ qui unissent ce dernier k ses fr^res et soeurs sont plus 
6troits que ceux qui le rattachent i sa femme et i ses propres 
enfants. II continue m^me apr^s son manage k vivre dans 
sa famille maternelle ; c'est Ik qu'est son veritable domicile, et 
non pas dans la maison de sa femme : il ne cesse pas de 
cultiver le champ de sa propre famille, k travailler pour elle, 
et n'aide sa femme qu'accidentellement. Le chef de la famille 
est ordinairement le frfere atn6 du cdte maternel (le mamak 
ou avunculus). De par ses droits et ses devoirs, c'est lui le 
vrai pfere des enfants de sa sceur." ^ As regards the moun- 
taineers of Georgia, especially the Pshaves, M. Kovalevsky 
states that, among them, " le fr^re de la m^re prend la place 
du pfere dans toutes les circonstances oil il s'agit de venger le 
sang r6pandu, surtout au cas de meurtre commis sur la per- 
sonne de son neveu."* Among the Goajiro Indians,^ the 
Negroes of Bondo,* the Barea, and the Bazes,^ it is the mother's 
brother who has the right of selling a girl to her suitor. Touch- 
ing the Kois, the Rev. John Cain says, ** The maternal uncle 
of any Koi girl has the right to bestow her hand on any one 
of his sons, or any other suitable candidate who meets with 
his approval. The father and the mother of the girl have no 
acknowledged voice in the matter. A similar custom prevails 
amongst some of the Komiti (Vai^ya) caste." ® Among the 
Savaras in India, the bridegroom has to give a bullock not 
only to the girl's father, but to the maternal uncle ; ^ whilst 
among the Creeks, the proxy of the suitor asked for the con- 

^ Giraud-Teulon, ioc. cit. pp. 199, et seq. 

* Kovalevsky, Ioc. cit. pp. 21 ^et seq. 

^ Bastian, *Die Rechtsverhaltnisse bei verschiedenen Volkem der 
Erde,* p. 181. 

^ *■ Das Ausland,' 1881, p. 1026. 

^ Munzinger, ' Ostafrikanische Studien,' p. 528. 

^ Cain, ' The Bhadrachellam and Rekapalli Taluqas,' in ' The Indian 
Antiquary,' vol. viii. p. 34. ^ Dalton, loc^ cit. p. 150. 


sent of the uncles, aunts, and brothers of the young woman, 
" the father having no voice or authority in the business." ^ 

But such cases are rare. Besides, most of them imply only 
that the children in a certain way belong to the uncle, not 
that the father is released from the obligation of supporting 
them. Even where succession runs through females only, the 
father is nearly always certainly the head of the family. 
Thus, for instance, among the Australians, with whom the 
clan of the children is, as a rule, determined by that of the 
mother, the husband is, to quote Mr. Curr, almost an autocrat 
in his family, and the children always belong to his tribe. ^ 
Nor is there any reason to believe that it was generally 
otherwise in former times. A man could not of course be 
the guardian of his sister's children, if he did not live in close 
connection with them. But except in such a decidedly 
anomalous case as that of the Malays, just referred to, this 
could scarcely happen, as a general rule, unless marriages were 
contracted between persons living closely together. Nowadays, 
however, such marriages are usually avoided, and I shall 
endeavour later on to show that they were probably also 
avoided by our remote ancestors. 

It might, further, be objected that the children were equally 
well or better provided for, if not the fathers only, but all 
the males of the tribe indiscriminately were their guardians. 
The supporters of the hypothesis of promiscuity, and even 
other sociologists, as for instance Herr Kautsky, * believe that 
this really was the case among primitive men. According to 
them, the tribe or horde is the primary social unit of the 
human race, and the family only a secondary unit, developed 
in later times. Indeed, this assumption has been treated by 
many writers, not as a more or less probable hypothesis, but 
as a demonstrated truth. Yet the idea that a man's children 
belong to the tribe, has no foundation in fact. Everywhere 
we find the tribes or clans composed of several families, the 

* Schoolcraft, loc. cit. vol. v. p. 268. Cf, Bartram, 'The Creek and 
Cherokee Indians/ in 'Transactions of the American Ethnological 
Society/ vol. iii. pt i. p. 65, * Curr, loc, ciL vol. i. pp. 60, 62, 69. 

' Kautsky, 'Die Entstehung der Ehe und Familie,' in 'Kosmos,' 
vol. xii. p. 198. 


members of each family being more closely connected with 
one another than with the rest of the tribe. The family, con- 
sisting of parents, children, and often also their next descend- 
ants, is a universal institution among existing peoples.^ 
And it seems extremely probable that, among our earliest 
human ancestors, the family formed, if not the society itself, 
at least the nucleus of it. As this is a question of great 
importance, I must deal with it at some length. 

Mr. Darwin remarks, "Judging from the analogy of the 
majority of the Quadrumana, it is probable that the early 
ape-like progenitors of man were likewise social."* But 
it may be doubted whether Mr. Darwin would have drawn this 
inference, had he taken into consideration the remarkable 
fact that none of the monkeys most nearly allied to man can 
be called social animals. 

The solitary life of the Orang-utan has already been noted. 
As regards Gorillas, Dr. Savage states that there is only one 
adult male attached to each group ; ^ and Mr. Reade says 
expressly that they are not gregarious, though they sometimes 
seem to assemble in large numbers.* Both M. du Chaillu * 
and Herr von Koppenfels ® assure us likewise that the Grorilla 
generally lives in pairs or families. 

The same is the case with the Chimpanzee. " It is seldom," 
Dr. Savage says, " that more than one or two nests are seen 
upon the same tree or in the same neighbourhood ; five have 
been found, but it was an unusual circumstance. They do not 
live in * villages/ . . . They are more often seen in pairs than 
in gangs. ... As seen here, they cannot be called gregarious." ^ 
This statement, confirmed or repeated by M. du Chaillu ® and 
Professor Hartmann,® is especially interesting, as the Chim- 

* Cf. Tylor, * Primitive Society,' in * The Contemporary Review,* voL 
xxi. pp. 711, et seq, 

2 Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 166. 
' Savage, ' Description of Troglodytes Gorilla^* p. 9, 

* Reade, loc, cit p. 220. « Du Chaillu, loc. at p. 349. 

* *Die Gartenlaube,' 1877, p. 418. 

^ Savage^ in * Boston Journal of Natural History,' voL iv. pp. 384, et seq, 

* Du Chaillu, p. 358. 

* Hartmann, loc. cit, p. 221 : ' Dieses Thier lebt in einzelnen Familien 
odcr in kleinem Gruppen von solchen beieinander.' 


panzee resembles man also in his comparatively slight strength 
and courage, so that a gregarious life might be supposed to be 
better suited to this animal. 

Mr. Spencer, however, has pointed out that not only size, 
strength, and means of defence, but also the kind and distri- 
bution of food and other factors must variously co-operate and 
conflict to determine how far a gregarious life is beneficial, and 
how far a solitary life.^ Considering, then, that, according to 
Dr. Savage, the Chimpanzees are more numerous in the season 
when the greatest number of fruits come to maturity,* we may 
almost with certainty infer that the solitary life generally led 
by this ape is due chiefly to the difficulty it experiences in 
getting food at other times of the year. 

Is it not, then, most probable that our fruit-eating human 
or half-human ancestors, living on the same kind of food, and 
requiring about the same quantities of it as the man-like apes, 
were not more gregarious than they ? It is likely, too, that 
subsequently, when man became partly carnivorous, he 
continued, as a rule, this solitary kind of life, or that gregari- 
ousness became his habit only in part. "An animal of a 
predatory kind," says Mr. Spencer, " which has prey that can 
be caught and killed without help, profits by living alone : 
especially if its prey is much scattered, and is secured by 
stealthy approach or by lying in ambush. Gregariousness 
would here be a positive disadvantage. Hence the tendency 
of large carnivores, and also of small carnivores that have 
feeble and widely-distributed prey, to lead solitary lives." ^ It 
is, indeed, very remarkable that even now there are savage 
peoples who live rather in separate families than in tribes, 
and that most of these peoples belong to the very rudest 
races in the world.* 

" ' The wild or forest Veddahs,' " Mr. Pridham states, " build 

* Spencer, 'The Principles of Psychology,' vol. ii. pp. 558, et seq, 

* Savage, in * Boston Journal of Natural History/ vol. iv. p. 384. Cf, 
V. Koppenfels, in * Die Gartenlaube,* 1877, P- \^9* 

' Spencer, vol. ii. p. 558. 

* Herr Kautsky is certainly mistaken when he says (* Kosmos/ vol. xii. 
p. 193}, 'Nicht Familien, sondem Stamme sind es, denen wir bei den 
Volkem begegnen, die sich ihre urspriinglichen Einrichtungen noch 
bewahrt haben.' 


their huts in trees, live in pairs, only occasionally assembling 
in greater numbers, and exhibit no traces of the remotest 
civilization, nor any knowledge of social rites." ^ According 
to Mr. Bailey, the Nilgala Veddahs, who are considered the 
wildest, " are distributed through their lovely country in small 
septs, or families, occupying generally caves in the rocks, 
though some have little bark huts. They depend almost 
solely on hunting for their support, and hold little communi- 
cation even with each other." * 

In Tierra del Fuego, according to Bishop Stirling, family life 
is exclusive. " Get outside the family," he says, " and relation- 
ships are doubtful, if not hostile. The bond of a common 
language is no security for friendly offices." * Commander 
Wilkes states likewise that the Fuegians " appear to live in 
families and not in tribes, and do not seem to acknowledge 
any chief; '* * and, according to M. Hyades, " la famille est bien 
constitute, mais la tribu n'existe pas, i proprement parler." * 
Each family is perfectly independent of all the others, and 
only the necessity of common defence now and then induces 
a few families to form small gangs without any chief.® With 
reference to the Yahgans of the southern part of Tierra del 
Fuego, the Rev. T. Bridges writes to me, " They live in clans, 
called by them Ucuhr, which means a house. These Ucuhr 
comprise many subdivisions, and the members are necessarily 
related. But," he continues, " the Yahgans are a roving people, 
having their districts and moving about within these districts 
from bay to bay and island to island in canoes, without any 
order. The whole clan seldom travels together, and only 
occasionally and then always incidentally is it to be found 
collected. The smaller divisions keep more together. . . . 
Occasionally, as many as five families are to be found living 

^ Pridhaniy 'Account of Ceylon,' vol. i. p. 454. Cf. Hartshome, 'The 
Weddas,' in * The Indian Antiquary,' vol. viii. p. 320. 

« BaUey, * The Wild Tribes of the Veddahs of Ceylon/ in ' Trans. 
Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. ii. p. 281. 

5 Stirling, * Residence in Tierra del Fuego,' in * The South American 
Missionary Magazine,' vol. iv. p. 11. * Wilkes, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 124. 

* Hyades, * Ethnographie des Fu^giens,' in * Bulletins de la Socidtd 
d'Anthropologie de Paris,' ser. iii. vol. x. p. 333. 

® * Ymer,' vol. iii. p. 88. * Globus,' vol. xlix. p. 35. 


in a wigwam, but generally two families." Indeed, in *A 
Voice for South America,' Mr. Bridges says that "family 
influence is the one great tie which binds these natives 
together, and the one great preventive of violence." ^ 

Speaking of the West Australians, who are probably better 
known to him than to any other civilized man, Bishop 
Salvado says that they " au lieu de se gouverner par tribus, 
paraissent se gouverner k la mani^re patriarchale : chaque 
famille, qui g^n^ralement ne compte pas plus de six a neuf 
individus, forme comme une petite socidtd, sous la seule d^pen- 
dance de son propre chef. . . . Chaque famille s'approprie une 
esp^ce de district, dont cependant les families voisines jouissent 
en commun si Ton vit en bonne harmonie." ^ 

Mr. Stanbridge, who spent eighteen years in the wilds of 
Victoria, tells us that the savages there are associated in tribes 
or families, the members of which vary much in number. Each 
tribe has its own boundaries, the land of which is parcelled out 
amongst families and carefully transmitted by direct descent ; 
these boundaries being so sacredly maintained that the 
member of no single family will venture on the lands of a 
neighbouring one without invitation.* And touching the 
Gournditch-mara, Mr. Howitt states that "each family 
camped by itself." * 

The Bushmans of South Africa, according to Dr. Fritsch, 
are almost entirely devoid of a tribal organization. Even 
when a number of families occasionally unite in a larger 
horde, this association is more or less accidental, and not 
regulated by any laws.* But a horde commonly consists 
of the different members of one family only, at least if the 
children are old and strong enough to help their parents to 
find food.^ " Sexual feelings, the instinctive love to children, 

* Bridges, * Manners and Customs of the Firelanders,* in * A Voice for 
South America,' vol. xiii. p. 204. 

^ Salvado, 'Mdmoires historiques sur TAustralie,* pp. 265, et seq. 
Idem^ * Voyage en Australie,' p. 178, 

3 Stanbridge, * The Tribes in the Central Part of Victoria,' in * Trans. 
£thn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. i. pp. 286, et seq. 

* Fison and Howitt, loc, cit p. 278. * Fritsch, loc. cit pp. 443, et seq, 

* Thuli^, 'Instructions sur les Bochimans,' in 'Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' 
ser. iii. vol. iv. pp. 409, et seq. Lichtenstein, ' Travels in Southern Africa,' 
vol. i. p. 48. 


or the customary attachment among reladons," says Lich- 
tenstein, ^are the only ties that keep them in any sort of 
union." * 

The like is stated to be true of several peoples in BraziL Ac- 
cording to V. MartiuSy travellers often meet there with a language 
" used only by a few individuals connected with each other by 
relationship, who are thus completely isolated, and can hold 
no communication with any of their other countrymen far or 
near."* With reference to the Botocudos, v. Tschudi says 
that *' the family is the only tie which joins these rude children 
of nature with each other."* The Guachis, Mauhds, and 
Guat6s for the most part live scattered in families,^ and the 
social condition of the Caishanas, among whom each family 
has its own solitary hut, " is of a low type, very little removed, 
indeed, from that of the brutes living in the same forests." * 
The Maraud Indians live likewise in separate families or small 
hordes, and so do some other of the tribes visited by Mr. 
Bates.* According to Mr. Southey, the Caydguas or Wood- 
Indians, who inhabited the forests between the Parand and 
the Uruguay, were not in a social state ; " one family lived at 
a distance from another, in a wretched hut composed of 
boughs ; they subsisted wholly by prey, and when larger game 
failed, were contented with snakes, mice, pismires, worms, and 
any kind of reptile or vermin." ^ Again, speaking of the 
Coroados, v. Spix and v. Martins say that " they live without 
any bond of social union, neither under a republican nor a 
patriarchal form of government. Even family ties are very 
loose among them." ® 

The Togiagamutes, an Eskimo tribe, never visited by white 
men in their own country until the year 1880, who lead a 
thoroughly nomadic life, wandering from place to place in 

^ Lichten stein, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 194. 

2 V. Martius, ' Civil and Natural Rights among the Aboriginal Inhabit- 
ants of Brazil,' in ' Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc.,' vol. ii. p. 192. 

3 V. Tschudi, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 283. 

* v. Martius, ' Beitrage zur Ethnographic Amerika's,' vol. i. pp. 244, 
400, 247. * Bates, * The Naturalist on the River Amazons,' vol. ii. p. 376, 

° /^/V/., vol. ii. pp. 381, 377, ei seq, \ vol. i. p. 328. 
7 Southey, ' History of Brazil,' vol. ii. p. 373. 

* v. Spix and v. Martius, * Travels in Brazil,' vol. ii. p. 244. 


search of game or fish, appear, according to PetrofF, " to live 
in the most perfect state of independence of each other. Even 
the communities do not seem bound together in any way; 
families and groups of families constantly changing their 
abode, leaving one community and joining another, or perhaps 
forming one of their own. The youth, as soon as he is able 
to build a kaiak and to support himself, no longer observes 
any family ties, but goes where his fancy takes him, frequently 
roaming about with his kaiak for thousands of miles before 
another fancy calls him to take a wife, to excavate a miserable 
dwelling, and to settle down for a time." ^ 

The ancient Finns, too, according to the linguistic re- 
searches of Professor Ahlqvist, were without any kind of 
tribal organization. In his opinion, such a state would have 
been almost impossible among them, as they lived in scat- 
tered families for the sake of the chase and in order to have 
pastures for their reindeer.^ 

That the comparatively solitary life which the families of 
these peoples live, is due to want of sufficient food, appears 
from several facts. Lichtenstein tells us that the hardships 
experienced by the Bushmans in satisfying the most urgent 
necessities of life, preclude the possibility of their forming 
larger societies. Even the families that form associations in 
small separate hordes are sometimes obliged to disperse, as 
the same spot will not afford sufficient sustenance for all. 
"The smaller the number, the easier is a supply of fooji 
procured." ' 

" Scarcity of food, and the facility with which they move 
from one place to another in their canoes," says Admiral 
Fitzroy, "are, no doubt, the reasons why the Fuegians are 
always so dispersed among the islands in small family parties, 
why they never remain long in one place, and why a large 
number are not seen many days in society." * 

The natives of Port Jackson, New South Wales, when 
visited a hundred years ago by Captain Hunter, were asso- 

* Petroff, * The Population, Industries, and Resources of Alaska,' p. 135 

* Ahlqvist, * Die Kulturworter der westfinnischen Sprachen,' p. 22c. 
> Lichtenstein, loc. cit, vol ii. pp. 194, 49. 

* King and Fitzroy, loc. cit vol. ii. pp. 177, ft seq. 


ciated in tribes of many families living together, apparently 
without a fixed residence, the different families wandering in 
different directions for food, but uniting on occasions of 
disputes with another tribe.^ The Rev. A. Meyer assures us 
likewise, as regards the Encounter Bay tribe, that " the whole 
tribe does not always move in a body from one place to 
another, unless there should be abundance of food to be 
obtained at some particular spot ; but generally they are 
scattered in search of food." ^ Again, with reference to the 
Australians more generally, Mr. Brough Smyth remarks that 
" in any large area occupied by a tribe, where there was not 
much forest land, and where kangaroos were not numerous, it 
is highly probable that the several families composing the 
tribe would withdraw from their companions for short periods, 
at certain seasons, and betake themselves to separate portions 
of the area, . . . and it is more than probable — it is almost 
certain — that each head of a family would betake himself, if 
practicable, to that portion which his father had frequented." * 
Finally, from Mr. Wyeth's account in Schoolcraft's great 
work on the Indian Tribes of the United States, I shall make 
the following characteristic quotation with reference to the 
Snakes inhabiting the almost desert region which extends 
southward from the Snake River as far as the southern end 
of the Great Salt Lake, and eastward from the Rocky to the 
Blue Mountains. " The paucity of game in this region is, I 
have little doubt, the cause of the almost entire absence of 
social organization among its inhabitants ; no trace of it is 
ordinarily seen among them, except during salmon-time, 
when a large number of the Snakes resort to the rivers, 
chiefly to the Fishing Falls, and at such places there seems 
some little organization. . . . Prior to the introduction of the 
horse, no other tribal arrangement existed than such as is now 
seen in the management of the salmon fishery. . . . The 
organization would be very imperfect, because the remainder 
of the year would be spent by them in families widely spread 

* Hunter, ' Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and 
Norfolk Island,' p. 62. 
^ Meyer, loc. cit, p. 191. 
^ Brough Smyth, * The Aborigines of Victoria,' vol. i. pp. 146, et seq. 


apart, to eke out the year's subsistence on the roots and 
limited game of their country. After a portion of them, who 
are now called Bonacks, had obtained horses, they would 
naturally form bands and resort to the Buffalo region to gain 
their subsistence, retiring to the most fertile places in their 
own, to avoid the snows of the mountains and feed their horses. 
Having food from the proceeds of the Buffalo hunt, to enable 
them to live together, they would annually do so, for the pro- 
tection of their horses, lodges, &c., &c. These interests have 
caused an organization among the Bonacks, which continues 
the year through, because the interests which produce it 
continue ; and it is more advanced than that of the other 
Snakes." ^ 

Here, I think, we have an excellent account of the origin 
of society, applicable not only to the Snakes, but, in its main 
features, to man in general. The kind of food he subsisted 
upon, together with the large quantities of it that he wanted, 
probably formed in olden times a hindrance to a true gre- 
garious manner of living, except perhaps in some unusually 
rich places. Man in the savage state, even when living 
in luxuriant countries, is often brought to the verge of 
starvation, in spite of his having implements and weapons 
which his ruder ancestors had no idea of. If the obstacle 
from insufficient food-supply could be overcome, gregarious- 
ness would no doubt be of great advantage to him. Living 
together, the families could resist the dangers of life and 
defend themselves from their enemies much more easily 
than when solitary, — all the more so, as the physical strength 
of man, and especially savage man,* is comparatively slight. 
Indeed, his bodily inferiority, together with his defenceless- 
ness and helplessness, has probably been the chief lever of 

" He has," to quote Mr. Darwin, " invented and is able to 
use various weapons, tools, traps, &c., with which he defends 
himself, kills or catches prey, and otherwise obtains food. He 
has made rafts or canoes for fishing or crossing over to 
neighbouring fertile islands. He has discovered the art of 

^ Schoolcraft, loc. cit, voL i. pp. 207, et seq. 

^ Cf, Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,* vol. i. §§ 24, 27. 



making fire, by which hard and stringy roots can be rendered 
digestible, and poisonous roots or herbs innocuous." ^ In short, 
man gradually found out many new ways of earning his living, 
and more and more emancipated himself from direct depend- 
ence on surrounding nature. The chief obstacle to a 
gregarious life was by this means in part surmounted, and the 
advantages of such a life induced families or small gangs to 
unite together in larger bodies. Thus it seems that the 
gregariousness and sociability of man sprang, in the main, 
from progressive intellectual and material civilization, whilst 
the tie that kept together husband and wife, parents and 
children, was, if not the only, at least the principal social 
factor in the earliest life of man. I cannot, therefore, agree 
with Sir John Lubbock that, as a general rule, as we descend 
in the scale of civilization, the family diminishes, and the tribe 
increases, in importance.* This may hold good for somewhat 
higher stages, but it does not apply to the lowest stages. 
Neither do I see any reason to believe that there ever was a 
time when the family was quite absorbed in the tribe. There 
does not exist a single well established instance of a people 
among whom this is the case. 

I do not, of course, deny that the tie which bound the 

children to the mother was much more intimate and more 

lasting than that which bound them to the father. But it 

seems to me that the only result to which a critical investigation 

of facts can lead us is, that in all probability there has been 

« no stage of human development when marriage has not 

existed, and that the father has always been, as a rule, the 

I protector of his family. Human marriage appears, then, to 

' be an inheritance from some ape-like progenitor. 

^ Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 72. 

* Lubbock,' The Development of Relationships,' in *Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' 
vol. i. p. 2. 



The inference drawn in the last chapter is opposed to the ^ 
view held by most sociologists who have written upon early 
history. According to them, man lived originally in a state of 
promiscuity. This is the opinion of Bachofen, McLennan, 
Morgan, Lubbock, Bastian, Giraud-Teulon, Lippert, Kohler, 
Post, Wilken, and several other writers.^ Although suggested 
at first only as a probable hypothesis, this presumption is 
now treated by many writers as a demonstrated truth.* 

^ Bachofen, ' Das Mutterrecht,' pp. xix., xx., lo. Identy ' Antiquarische 
Briefe,' pp. 20, ei seq. McLennan, loc, cit pp. 92, 95. Morgan, loc, cit, 
pp. 480, 487, et seg. Idem^ 'Ancient Society,' pp. 418, 500-502. Lubbock, 
loc, cit. pp. 86, 98, 104. Bastian, loc. cit, p. xviii. Giraud-Teulon, loc, ciL 
p. 70. Lippert, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 7. Post, * Die Geschlechtsgenossen- 
schaft der Urzeit,' pp. 16, et seq. Idem, 'Die Grundlagen des Rechts,' 
pp. 183, et seq, Idem,^SXMd\tn zur Entwickelungsgeschichte des Fami- 
lienrechts,' pp. 54, et seq. Wilken, * Over de primitieve vormen van het 
buwelijk en den oorsprong van het gezin,' in 'De Indische Gids,' 1880, 
vol. ii. p. 611. Kohler, in ' Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Rechtswissen- 
schaft,' voL iv, p. 267. Engels* ' Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privatei- 
genthums und des Staats,' p. 17. Mr. Herbert Spencer, though inferring 
(* The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. p. 635) that even in prehistoric times 
pron:iiscuity was checked by the establishment of individual connections, 
thinks that in the earliest stages it was but in a small degree thus 

* Fiske, loc. cit. voL ii. p. 345. Kulischer, in * Zeitschrift fiir Ethno- 
logie/ vol, viii, pp. 140, et seq. Gumplowicz, * Grundriss der Sociologie,' 
p. 107. Bebcl, * Woman in the Past, Present, and Future,' p. 9. 

E 2 


The promiscuity of primitive man is not, however, gener- 
ally considered to be perfectly indiscriminate, but limited to 
the individuals belonging to the same tribe. It may, there- 
fore, perhaps be said to be a kind of marriage : polygyny com- 
bined with polyandry. Sir John Lubbock has also given it 
the name of " communal marriage," indicating by this word, 
that all the men and women in a community were regarded 
as equally husbands and wives to one another. As I do not, in 
speaking of marriage, take into consideration unions of so 
indefinite a nature, this seems to be the proper place to discuss 
the hypothesis in question. 

The evidence adduced in ' support of it flows from two 
sources. First, there are, in the books of ancient writers and 
modern travellers, notices of some savage nations said to live 
promiscuously ; secondly, there are some remarkable customs 
which are assumed to be social survivals, pointing to an 
earlier stage of civilization, when marriage did not exist. Let 
us see whether this evidence will stand the test of a critical 

Herodotus and Strabo inform us that, among the Massagetae, 
every man had his own wife, but that all the other men of 
the tribe were allowed to have sexual intercourse with her.* 
The Auseans, a Libyan people, had, according to the former, 
their wives in common ; ^ and Solinus reports the same of the 
Garamantians of Ethiopia.* Community of women is, further, 
alleged to have occurred among the Liburnes and Galacto- 
phagi.* And Garcilasso de la Vega asserts that, among 
the natives of Passau in Peru, before the time of the Incas, 
men had no separate wives.^ 

To these statements of ancient peoples Sir J. Lubbock adds 
a few others concerning modem savages.® " The Bushmen of 
South Africa," he says, " are stated to be entirely without 
marriage." Sir Edward Belcher tells us that, in the Andaman 

^ Herodotus, ''loropta,* book i. ch. 216. Strabo, loc. cit, book xi. p. 513. 

* Herodotus, book iv. ch. 180. 

^ Solinus, ' Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium,' ch. xxx. § 2. 

* Nicolaus Damascenus, ' *£^&y (rvpayeoyfi,* §§ 3, 14. 

^ Garcilasso de la Vega, ' The Royal Commentaries of the Yncas,* 
vol. ii. p. 443. • Lubbock, he, ciL pp. 86-95. 


Islands, the custom is for the man and woman to remain 
together until the child is weaned, when they separate, and 
each seeks a new partner.^ Speaking of the natives of Queen 
Charlotte Islands, Mr. Poole says that "among these simple 
and primitive tribes the institution of marriage is altogether 
unknown," and that the women " cohabit almost promiscuously 
with their own tribe, though rarely with other tribes."* In the 
Californian Peninsula, according to Baegert, the sexes met 
without any formalities, and their vocabulary did not even 
contain the word " to marry/*' Mr. Hyde states that, in the 
Pacific Islands, there was an " utter absence of what we mean 
by the family, the household, and the husband ; the only thing 
possible was to keep distinct the line through the mother, and 
enumerate the successive generations with the several puta- 
tive fathers."* Among the Nairs, as Buchanan tells us, no 
one knows his father, and every man looks on his sisters' 
children as his heirs ; a man may marry several women, and a 
woman may be the wife of several men.^ The Teehurs of 
Oude live together almost indiscriminately in large com- 
munities, and even when two people are regarded as married 
the tie is but nominal.* It is recorded that, among theTdttiyars 
of India, " brothers, uncles, nephews, and other kindred, hold 
their wives in common." ^ And among the Todas of the 
Neilgherry Hills, when a man marries a girl, she becomes the 
wife of all his brothers as they successively reach manhood, 
and they become the husbands of all her sisters when they 
are old enough to marry.® 

The Kdmilar6i tribes in South Australia are divided into 
four clans, in which brothers and sisters are respectively 

^ Belcher, 'Notes on the Andaman Islands,' in 'Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' 
N. S. vol. V. p. 45. 

* Poole, 'Queen Charlotte Islands,' p. 312. 

' Baegert, ' The Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Californian Peninsula, 
in 'Smithsonian Report,' 1863, p. 368. 

* Lubbock, loc, cii. pp. 87, et seq. 

* Buchanan, ' Journey from Madras,' in Pinkerton, ' Collection of 
Voyages and Travels,' vol. viii. p. 736. Lubbock, p. 87. 

* Watson and Kaye, loc. cit vol. ii. no. 85. 

^ Dubois, ' Description of the People of India,' p. 3. 
® Shortt, in 'Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. vii. p. 240. 


Ipai and Ipatha, Kubi and Kubttha, Muri and Matha, Kumbu 
and Butha. Ipai may only marry Kubltha ; Kubi, Ipatha ; 
Kumbu, Matha ; and Miiri, Butha. In a certain sense, we are 
told, every Ipai is regarded as married, not by any individual 
contract, but by organic law, to every Kubttha ; every Kubi to 
every Ipatha, and so on. If, for instance, a Kiibi " meet a 
stranger Ipatha, they address each other as spouse. A Kubi 
thus meeting an Ipatha, though she were of another tribe, 
would treat her as his wife, and his right to do so would be 
recognized by her tribe." ^ This institution, according to which 
the men of one division have as wives the women of 
another division, the Rev. L. Fison calls "group-marriage." 
He contends that, among the South Australians, it has 
given way in later times, in some measure, to individual 
marriage. But theoretically, as he says, marriage is still com- 
munal : " it is based upon the marriage of all the males in one 
division of a tribe to all the females of the same generation in 
another division." To this may be added a statement of the 
Rev. C. W. Schiirmann with reference to the Port Lincoln 
aborigines. " As for near relatives, such as brothers," he 
remarks, " it may almost be said that they have their wives in 
common. ... A peculiar nomenclature has arisen from these 
singular connections ; a woman honours the brothers of the 
man to whom she is married with the indiscriminate name of 
husbands ; but the men make a distinction, calling their own 
individual spouses yungaras, and those to whom they have a 
secondary claim, by right of brotherhood, kartetis." * 

Speaking of the Fuegians, Admiral Fitzroy says, " We had 
some reason to think there were parties who lived in a pro- 
miscuous manner — a few women being with many men."' The 
Lubus of Sumatra, the Olo Ot, together with a few other tribes 
of Borneo, the Poggi Islanders, the Orang Sakai of Malacca, 
and the mountaineers of Peling, east of Celebes, are by Pro- 

^ Fison and Howitt, /oc. cit, pp. 36, 51, 53. Ridley, * Kdmilar6i,' pp. 161, 
ct seg, 

* Schiirmann, 'The Aboriginal Tribes of Port Lincoln,* in Woods, 
* The Native Tribes of South Australia,' p. 223. 

3 King and Fitzroy, ioc, cit, vol. ii. p. 182. 


fessor Wilken stated to be entirely without marriage.^ The 
same is said by Professor Bastian to be the case with the 
Keriahs, Kurumbas, Chittagong tribes, Guaycurus, Kutchin 
Indians, and Arawaks.* He states, too, that the Jolah on the 
island of St. Mary, according to Hewett, possess their women 
in common,* and that, according to MagalhSes, the like is true 
of the Cahyapos in Matto Grosso.* We read in Dapper's old 
book on Africa, that certain negro tribes had neither laws, nor 
religion, nor any proper names, and possessed their wives in 
common.^ These are all the statements known to me of peoples 
alleged to be without marriage. 

In the first place, it must be remarked that some of the facts 
adduced are not really instances of promiscuity. Sir Edward 
Belcher s statement as regards the Andamanese evidently sug- 
gests monogamy ; and among the Massagetae and the Teehurs, 
the occurrence of marriage is expressly confirmed, though the 
marriage tie was loose. As for the aborigines of the Califomian 
Peninsula, it must be remembered that the want of an equi- 
valent for the verb " to marry " does not imply the want of the 
fact itself. Baegert indicates, indeed, that marriage did occur 
among them, when he says that ^* each man took as many 
wives as he liked, and if there were several sisters in a family 
he married them all together." ^ And throughout the Pacific 
Islands, marriage is a recognized institution. Nowhere has 
debauchery been practised more extensively than among the 
Areois of Tahiti. Yet Mr. Ellis assures us that, " although 
addicted to every kind of licentiousness themselves, each 
Areoi had his own wife ; . . . and so jealous were they in this 
respect, that improper conduct towards the wife of one of their 
own number was sometimes punished with death." ^ 

* Wilken, in * De Indische Gids,' 1880, vol. ii. pp. 610, ^/ seg. I dent ^ 
* Over de verwantschap en het huwelijks- en erfrecht bij de volken van 
het maleische ras,' pp. 20 ; 82, note. 

* Bastian, * Ueber die Eheverhaltnisse,' in * Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologic,* 
vol. vj. p. 406. 

* Idem, * Rechtsverhaltnisse,' p. Ixi., note 36. 

* Idem^ * Die Culturlander des alten America,' vol. ii. p. 654, note 4. 

* Quoted by Giraud-Teulon, loc. cit, p. 72. 

* Baegert, in * Smith. Rep.,' 1863, p. 368. 

' Ellis, * Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 239. 


As to the South Australians, Mr. Fison's statements have 
caused not a little confusion. On his authority several writers, 
as Sir John Lubbock, Dr. Morgan, Professor Kohler, and 
M. Kovalevsky, assert that, among the Australian savages, 
groups of males are actually found united to groups of females.^ 
But after all, Mr. Fison does not seem really to mean to affirm 
the present existence of group-marriages. The chief argument 
advanced by him in support of his theory is grounded on the 
terms of relationship in use in the tribes. These terms belong 
to the " classificatory system " of Dr. Morgan, /.^., the same 
term is used for father and father's brother, the same term for 
mother and mother's sister, the same for brother, father's 
brother's son, and mother's sister's son, and the same for son 
and brother's son (a male speaking), and for son and sister's 
son (a female speaking).* But Mr. Fison admits that he is not 
aware of any tribe in which the actual practice is to its full 
extent what the terms of relationship imply. " Present usage," 
he says," is everywhere in advance of the system so implied, and 
the terms are survivals of an ancient right, not precise indica- 
tions of custom as it is." ^ The same is granted by Mr. Howitt.* 
Yet it will be pointed out further on to what absurd results we 
must be led, if, guided by such terms, we begin to speculate 
upon early marriage. Moreover, if a Kubi and an Ipatha 
address each other as spouse, this does not imply that in former 
times every Kubi was married to every Ipatha indiscriminately. 
On the contrary, the application of such a familiar term might 
be explained from the very fact that intermarriages between 
individuals of the two clans have been customary from times 
immemorial. It seems also as if a communism in wives among 
the Port Lincoln aborigines had been inferred by Mr. Schiir- 
mann chiefly from the nomenclature. Indeed, Mr. Curr, who 
has procured more information regarding the Australian abo- 
rigines than any other investigator, so far as I know, states 

^ Lubbock, loc. cit. pp. 104, et seq, Morgan, in his * Introduction * to 
Fison and Howitt's ' Kamilaroi and Kumai,' p. 10. Kohler, ' Ueber das 
Recht der Australneger,' in ' Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. vii. p. 344. 
Kovalevsky, loc, cit, pp. 1 3, et seq, 

* Fison and Howitt, p. 60. ' Ibid,^ pp. 1 59, et seq, 

* Howitt, 'Australian Group Relations,' in * Smith. Rep.,* 1883, p. 817. 


that, in Australia, men and women have never been found 
living in a state of promiscuous intercourse, but the reverse is 
a matter of notoriety} " It seems to me," he says, " after a 
careful examination of the subject, that there is not within our 
knowledge a single fact or linguistic expression which requires 
us to have recourse to the theory of group-marriage to explain 
it, but that there are several . . . directly at variance with 
that theory."^ The Rev. John Mathew asserts also, in his 
recent paper on * The Australian Aborigines,* that he fails to 
see that group-marriage " has been proven to exist in the past, 
and it certainly does not occur in Australia now. . . . Mr. 
Fison seems to have overlooked that a black fellow holds his 
wife as his own special property against all comers, and allows 
intercourse with her only as a favour or for hire. This is the 
rule, and jealousy is a powerful passion with most aboriginal 
husbands."* At any rate, it may be asserted that such group- 
marriages are different from the promiscuity which is assumed 
to have prevailed in primitive society. And this may "with 
even more reason be said of the marriages of the T6ttiyars, 
Nairs, and Todas, of which at least those of the Todas have 
originated, I believe, in true polyandry. 

Many of the assertions made as to peoples living together 
promiscuously are evidently erroneous. Travellers are often 
apt to misapprehend the manners and customs of the peoples 
they visit, and we should therefore, if possible, compare the 
statements of different writers, especially when so delicate and 
private a matter as the relation between the sexes is con- 
cerned. Sir Edward Belcher's statement about the Andamanese 
has been disproved by Mr. Man, who, after a very careful 
investigation of this people, says not only that they are strictly 
monogamous, but that divorce is unknown, and conjugal 
fidelity till death not the exception but the rule among them.* 
As regards the Bushmans, Sir John Lubbock does not indicate 
the source from which he has taken the statement that they 
are " entirely without marriage ; " all the authorities I have 
consulted, unanimously assert the reverse. Burchell was told 

* Curr, loc. cit. voL i. p. 126. 2 /^v/.^ vol. i. p. 142. 

* Mathew, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N.S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 404. 

* Man, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,* vol. xii. p. 135. 


that even a second wife is never taken until the first has become 
old, and that the old wives remain with the husband on the 
same terms as before.^ Barrow tells us almost the same.* 
Indeed, as we have already seen, the family is the chief social 
institution of this people. 

With reference to the Fuegians, Mr. Bridges, who has lived 
amongst them for thirty years, writes to me, " Admiral Fitzro/s 
supposition concerning parties among the natives who lived 
promiscuously is false, and adultery and lewdness are con- 
demned as evil, though through the strength of animal 
passions very generally indulged, but never with the consent 
of husbands or wives, or of parents." From the description 
of Captain Jacobsen's recent voyage to the North Western 
Coast of North America, it appears that marriage exists among 
the Queen Charlotte Islanders also, although the husbands often 
prostitute their wives.* As for Professor Wilken's statements 
about promiscuity among some peoples belonging to the Malay 
race,«Professor Ratzel calls their accuracy in question. At 
least, among the Lubus, as Herr van Ophuijsen assures us, 
a man has to buy his wife, just as among the other Malay 
peoples ; * and Dr. Schwaner expressly says that all that we 
know about the Olo Ot depends on hearsay only.* But, 
according to him, they are not without marriage.® 

Some of Professor Bastian's assertions are most astonishing. 
Any one who takes the trouble to read Richardson's, Kirby's, 
or Bancroft's account of the Kutchin, will find that polygyny, 
but not promiscuity, is prevalent among them, the husbands 
being very jealous of their wives.^ The same is stated by 
V. Martins about the Arawaks, whose blood-feuds are generally 

* Burchell, * Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa,* vol. ii. p. 60. 

* Barrow, * Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa,' vol. i. p. 276. 

* Woldt, * Capitain Jacobsen's Reise an der Nordwestkiiste Amerikas,' 
pp. 20, 21, 28, etseg, * Ratzel, * Vfilkcrkunde,' vol. ii. p. 430. 

* Schwaner, ioc, cit, vol. i. p. 231, note: *De Koeteinezen verhalen, 
dat hunne Ot geene huwelijken sluiten, geen woningen hebben, en als de 
dieren des wouds door hen gejaagd worden.' 

* IHd,^ vol. i. p. 230. 

^ Richardson, * Arctic Searching Expedition,' vol. i. p. 383. Kirby, 
* Journey to the Youcan,' in * Smith. Rep.,' 1864, p. 419. Bancroft, loc, ciL 
vol. i. p. 131. 


owing to jealousy and a desire to avenge violations of conju- 
gal rights.^ The occurrence of marriage among them has also 
been ascertained by Schomburgk and the Rev. W. H. Brett.^ 
The Guaycurus are said by Lozano to be monogamous,* and 
so, according to Captain Lewin, are as a rule the Chittagong 
Hill tribes, as we shall find later on. Touching the Keriahs, 
Colonel Dalton affirms only that they have no word for marriage 
in their own language, but he does not deny that marriage 
itself occurs among them ; on the contrary, it appears that 
they buy their wives.* The Kurumbas are stated to be without 
the marriage ceremony, but not without marriage.^ And 
Dapper's assertion that certain negro tribes have their women 
in common, has never, so far as I know, been confirmed by 
more recent writers. Dr. Post has found no people in Africa 
living in a state of promiscuity ; ® and Mr. Ingham informs 
me, speaking of the Bakongo, that " they would be horrified 
at the idea of promiscuous intercourse." 

The peoples who may possibly live in a state of promiscuity 
have thus been reduced to a very small number. Considering 
the erroneousness of so many of the statements on the subject, 
it is difficult to believe in the accuracy of the others J Ethno- 
graphy was not seriously studied by the ancients, and their 
knowledge of the African tribes was no doubt very deficient. 
Pliny, in the same chapter where he states that, among the 
Garamantians, men and women lived in promiscuous inter- 

* V. Martius, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 693. 

* Schomburgk, loc, cit, vol. ii. pp. 459, et seq, Brett, 'The Indian 
Tribes of Guiana,' p. 98. 

5 Waitz, loc, cit. vol. iii. p. 472. 

* Dalton, * The " Kols " of Chota Nagpore,' in * trahs. Elhn. Soc.,' N. S. 
vol. vi. p. 25. * Lubbock, loc, cit, p. 81. 

* Post, * Afrikanische Jurisprudenz,' vol. i. p. 304. 

^ With reference to the Tahitians, Forster says (' Voyage round the 
World,' vol. ii. p. 132), * We have been told a wanton tale of promiscuous 
embraces, where every woman is common to every man : but when we 
enquired for a confirmation of this story from the natives, we were soon 
convinced that it must, like many others, be considered as a groundless 
invention of a traveller's gay fancy.* Regarding the Peruvian natives 
alleged to live in a state of promiscuity, Garcilasso de la Vega assures us 
{foe, cit, voL ii. p. 443) that he saw them with his own eyes when on his 
way to Spain, for the ship stopped on their coast for three days. 


course, reports of another African tribe, the Blemmyans, that 
they had no head, and that the mouth and eyes were in 
the breast.^ Besides, marriage is an ambiguous word. The 
looseness of the marital tie, the frequency of adultery and 
divorce, and the absence of the marriage ceremony may 
entitle us to say that, among many savage peoples, marriage 
in the European sense of the term does not exist. But this 
is very different from promiscuity. 

Even if some of the statements are right, and the intercourse 
between the sexes among a few peoples really is, or has been, 
promiscuous, it would be a mistake to infer that these 
utterly exceptional cases represent a stage of human develop- 
ment which mankind, as a whole, has gone through. Further, 
nothing would entitle us to consider this promiscuity as a 
survival of the primitive life of man, or even as a mark of a 
very rude state of society. It is by no means among the lowest 
peoples that sexual relations most nearly approach to promis- 
cuity. Mr. Rowney, for instance, states that, among the Butias, 
the marriage tie is so loose that chastity is quite unknown, 
that the husbands are indifferent to the honour of their wives, 
that " the intercourse of the sexes is, in fact, promiscuous." 
But the Butias are followers of Buddha, and " can hardly be 
counted among the wild tribes of India, for they are, for the 
most part, in good circumstances, and have a certain amount of 
civilization among them." * On the other hand, among the 
lowest races on earth, as the Veddahs, Fuegians, and Austral- 
ians, the relations of the sexes are of a much more definite 
character. The Veddahs are a truly monogamous people, and 
have a saying that " death alone separates husband and wife."^ 
And with reference to the Australians, Mr. Brough Smyth 
states that "though the marriages of Aboriginals are not 
solemnized by any rites, ... it must not be supposed that, 
as a rule, there is anything like promiscuous intercourse. When 
a man obtains a good wife, he keeps her as a precious possession, 

* Pliny, ' Historia Naturalis,' book v. ch. 8 : * Garamantes, matrimo- 
niorum exsortes, passim cum foeminis degunt. . . . Blemmyis traduntur 
capita abesse, ore et oculis pectori affixis.' 

' Rowney, loc. cit. pp. 142, 143, 140. 

^ Bailey, in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. voL ii, p. 293. 


as long as she is fit to help him, and minister to his wants, and 
increase his happiness. No other man must look with affection 
towards her. . . . Promiscuous intercourse is abhorrent to many 
of them." Among the aborigines of the northern and central 
parts of Australia, there are certainly women wholly given up to 
common lewdness, and a man is said to be considered a bad 
host who will not lend his wife to a guest. But Mr. Brough 
Smyth thinks that these practices are modem, and have been 
acquired since the aborigines were brought in contact with 
the lower class of the whites, for " they are altogether irre- 
concilable with the penal laws in force in former times amongst 
the natives of Victoria." ^ It seems obvious, then, that even if 
there are peoples who actually live promiscuously, these do not 
afford any evidence whatever for promiscuity having prevailed 
in primitive times. Now let us examine whether the other 
arguments are more convincing. 

** A further fact," Dr. Post says, " which speaks for sexual 
intercourse having originally been unchecked, is the wide-spread 
custom that the sexes may cohabit perfectly freely previous to 
marriage." ^ 

The immorality of many savages is certainly very great, but 
we must not believe that it is characteristic of uncivilized races 
in general. There are numerous savage and barbarous peoples 
among whom sexual intercourse out of wedlock is of rare 
occurrence, unchastity, at least on the part of the woman, being 
looked upon as a disgrace and even as a crime. 

"A Kafir woman," Barrow says, "is chaste and extremely 
modest ; " * and Mr. Cousins writes to me that, between their 
various feasts, the Kafirs, both men and women, have to live 
in strict continence, the penalty being banishment from the 
tribe, if this law is broken. Proyart states that, among the 
people of Loango, " a youth durst not speak to a girl except 
in her mother's presence," and " the crime of a maid who has 
not resisted seduction, would be suflScient to draw, down a 

* Brough Smyth, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 85, et seq. 

* Post, 'Die Grundlagcn dcs Rechts,' p. 187. Cf. Wilkcn, in *Dc 
Indische Gids,' 1880, vol. ii. p. 1195. 

* Barrow, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 206. 


total ruin on the whole country, were it not expiated by a 
public avowal made to the king."i Among the Equatorial 
Africans, mentioned by Mr. Win wood Reade, a girl who dis- 
graces her family by wantonness, is banished from her clan ; 
and, in cases of seduction, the man is severely flogged.^ In 
Dahomey, if a man seduces a girl, the law compels marriage, 
and the payment of eighty cowries to the parent or master.^ 
In Tessaua, according to Dr. Barth, a fine of 100,000 kurdi is 
imposed on the father of a bastard child, — a sum which in- 
dicates how seldom such children are bom there.* Among 
the Beni-Mzab, a man who seduces a young girl has to pay 
two hundred francs, and is banished for four years.^ Among 
the Beni-Amer, according to Munzinger, the unmarried women 
are very modest, though the married women believe that they 
are allowed everything.® Among the Arab girls in Upper 
Egypt, unchastity is made impossible by an operation when they 
are from three to five years old ; ^ and among the Marea, con- 
tinence is a scarcely less necessary virtue, as a maiden or 
widow who becomes pregnant is killed together with the 
seducer and the child.® As regards the Kabyles, Messrs. 
Hanoteau and Letourneux assert, " Les moeurs ne tolferent 
m^me aucune relation sexuelle en dehors du manage. . . . 
L'enfant ne en dehors du manage est tu6 ainsi que sa m^re." • 
Among the Central Asian Turks, according to VAmb6ry, a 
fallen girl is unknown.^® Among the Kalmucks,^^ as also the 
Gypsies," the girls take pride in having gallant affairs, but are 
dishonoured if they have children previous to marriage. A 
seducer among the Tunguses is bound to marry his victim 

^ Proyart, ' History of Loango,' in Pinkerton, ' Collection of Voyages,' 
vol. xvi. p. 568. * Reade, loc, cit. p. 261. 

' Forbes, * Dahomey and the Dahomans,' vol. i. p. 26. 

 Barth, ' Reisen in Nord- und Central- Afrika,' vol. ii. p. 18. 

* Chavanne, loc, ciL p. 315. 

^ Munzinger, loc, cit, p. 326. ^ Baker, loc, cit, p. 124. 

^ Munzinger, p. 243. For certain other African peoples see Moore, 
ioc, cit, p. 221 ; Munzinger, pp. 145, 146, 208; d'Escayrac de Lauture, 
* Die Afrikanische Wiiste,' p. 132. 

^ Hanoteau et Letourneux, * La Kabylie et les coutumes Kabyles,' 
vol. ii. pp. 148, 187. ^^ Vdmbdry, *Das Turkenvolk,' p. 240. . 

" Klemm, Ioc, cit. vol. iii. p. 166. 

^2 Liebich, * Die Zigeuner,' p. 50, note i. 


and pay the price claimed for her.^ In Circassia, an in- 
continent daughter is generally sold as soon as possible, being 
a disgrace to her parents.^ Among the wretched inhabitants 
of Lob-nor, " immorality is severely punished." * And re- 
garding the Let-htas, a Hill Tribe of Burma, Mr. O'Riley 
states that, until married, the youth of both sexes are 
domiciled in two long houses at opposite ends of the 
village, and "when they may have occasion to pass each 
other, they avert their gaze, so they may not see each 
other's faces." * 

As to the aborigines of the Indian Archipelago, Professor 
Wilken states that side by side with peoples who indulge in 
great licentiousness, there are others who are remarkably 
chaste. Thus, in Nias, the pregnancy of an unmarried girl is 
punished with death, inflicted not only upon her but upon the 
seducer.* Among the Hill Dyaks, the young men are care- 
fully separated from the girls, licentious connections between 
the sexes being strictly prohibited ; • and the Sibuyaus, a tribe 
belonging to the Sea Dyaks, though they do i^ot consider the 
sexual intercourse of their young people a positive crime, 
yet attach an idea of great indecency to irregular connections, 
and are of opinion that an unmarried woman with child 
must be offensive to the superior powersJ 

By some of the independent tribes of the Philippines also, 
according to Chamisso, chastity is held in great honour, " not 
only among the women, but also among the young girls, and 
is protected by very severe laws ;" ® — a statement which is 
confirmed by Dr. Hans Meyer and Professor Blumentritt with 
reference to the Igorrotes of Luzon.* 

^ Geoigi, ' Beschreibung aller Nationen des russischen Reichs,' p. 3ii- 

* Klemm, loc, cit, vol. iv. p. 26. 

* Prcjevalsky, * From Kulja to Lob-nor,' p. 112. 

* Fytche, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 343. 

* Wilken, in * Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde van Neder- 
landsch Indie,' ser. v. vol. iv. p. 444. ^ Low, loc. cit, pp. 300, 247. 

7 St. John, * Life in the Forests of the Far East,' vol. i. pp. 52, et seq, 
^ Kotzebue, loc. cit, vol. iii. p. 66. 

* Meyer, * Die Igorrotes von Luzon,' in * Verhandlungen der Berliner 
Gesellschaft fur Anthropologic, Ethnologic und Urgeschichtc,' 1883, pp. 


In New Guinea, too, chastity is strictly maintained.^ Mr. 
G. A. Robinson and Mr. Catechist Clark, who lived for years with 
the aborigines, both declare their belief in the virtue of the young 
women ; * and Dr. Finsch assures us that the natives of Dory 
are, in that respect, superior to many civilized nations in 
Europe.* The French naturalists and some English writers 
spoke highly of the morality of the young people among the 
Tasmanians ; "marriageable girls," says Mr. Bonwick, "were 
regarded with care, and the unmarried grown lads slept at 
fires removed from the families.'** The women of Uea, 
Loyalty Islands, are described by Erskine as " strictly chaste 
before marriage, and faithful wives afterwards."^ In Fiji, 
great continence prevailed among the young folk, the lads be- 
ing forbidden to approach women till eighteen or twenty years 
old.® In Samoa, the girls were allowed to cohabit freely with 
foreigners, but not with their countrymen,^ and the chastity of 
the chiefs' daughters was the pride of the tribe. But Mr. 
Turner remarks that, though this virtue was ostensibly culti- 
vated here by both sexes, it was more a name than a reality.^ 

With reference to the Australian natives, Mr. Moore Davis 
says, " Promiscuous intercourse between the sexes is not prac- 
tised by the Aborigines, and their laws on the subject, particu- 
larly those of New South Wales, are very strict When at 
camp, all the young unmarried men are stationed by them- 
selves at the extreme ends, while the married men, each with 
his family, occupy the centre. No conversation is allowed 
between the single men and the girls or the married women ; 
and about Riverina I have seen the young men make a con- 
siderable detour to avoid going near a station where the lubras 
were present. Infractions of these and other laws were visited 

384, gi segr, Blumentritt, loc. cit, p. 27. For other tribes of the Indian 
Archipelago, see Marsden, 'The History of Sumatra,* p. 261 ; and Matthes, 

* Bijdragen tot de Ethnologie van Zuid- Celebes,* p. 6. 

^ Earl, * Papuans,' p. 81. Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. vi. p. 629. Finsch, 

* Neu-Guinea,' pp. iTy 82, 92, 101. 

* Bonwick, loc, cit. p. 6a * Finsch, p. loi. 

* Bonwick, pp. 59, il. 

* Erskine, * The Islands of the Western Pacific,* p. 341. 

* IHcL^ P« 255. * ^ Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 138. 

* Turner, * Nineteen Years in Polynesia,* p. 184. 


either by punishment by any aggrieved member of the tribe, 
or by the delinquent having to purge himself of his crime by 
standing up protected simply by his shield, or a waddy, while 
five or six warriors threw, from a comparatively short distance, 
several spears at him." ^ Concerning several tribes in Western 
Victoria, Mr. Dawson likewise states that, at the corroborees 
and g^eat meetings of the tribes, unmarried adults of both 
sexes are kept strictly apart from those of another tribe. 
" Illegitimacy is rare," he says, "^nd is looked upon with such 
abhorrence that the mother is always severely beaten by her 
relatives, and sometimes put to death and burned. Her child 
is occasionally killed and burned with her. The father of the 
child is also punished with the greatest severity, and occa- 
sionally killed." * 

Turning to the American peoples : among the early Aleuts, 
according to Veniaminof, " girls or unmarried females who 
gave birth to illegitimate'children were to be killed for shame, 
and hidden."^ Egede tells us that, among the Greenlanders, 
unmarried women observed the rules of modesty much better 
than married women. " During fifteen full years that I lived 
in Greenland," he says, " I did not hear of more than two or 
three young women, who were gotten with child unmarried ; 
because it is reckoned the greatest of infamies."* According 
to Cranz, a Greenland maid would take it as an affront were 
a young fellow even to offer her a pinch of snuff" in company.*^ 
Among the Northern Indians, girls are from the early age of 
eight or nine years prohibited by custom from joining in the 
most innocent amusements with children of the opposite sex, 
" When sitting in their tents," says Heame, " or even when 
travelling, they are watched and guarded with such an un- 
remitting attention as cannot be exceeded by the most rigid 
discipline of an English boarding-school."^ Mr. Catlin asserts 
that, among the Mandans, female virtue is, in the respectable 

* Quoted by Brough Smyth, loc, ciL voL ii. p. 318. 

* Dawson, * Australian Aborigines,' pp. 33, 28. 

* Quoted by Petroff, loc. cit p. 155. 

* Egede, ' Description of Greenland,' p. 141. 

* Cranz, * The History of Greenland,' vol. i. p. 145. 

* Heame, *Jouniey to the Northern Ocean,' p. 311. 



families, as highly cherished as in any society whatever.^ 
Among the Nez Percys,* the Apaches* and certain other 
North American peoples,* the women are described as re- 
markably chaste, the seducer being viewed by some of them 
with even more contempt than the girl he has dishonoured. 
And Dobrizhoffer praises the Abiponian women for their 
virtuous life.* 

If we add to these facts those which will be adduced 
further on, showing what man requires in his bride, it must 
be admitted that the number of uncivilized peoples, among 
whom chastity, at least as regards women, is held in honour 
and, as a rule, cultivated, is very considerable. There being 
nothing to indicate that the morality of those nations ever was 
laxer, the inference of an earlier stage of promiscuity from the 
irregular sexual relations of unmarried people, could not apply 
to them, even if such an inference, on the whole, were right. 
But this is far from being the case : first, because the wanton- 
ness of savages, in several cases, seems to be due chiefly to the 
influence of civilization ; secondly, because it is quite different 
from promiscuity. 

It has been sufficiently proved that contact with a higher 
culture, or, more properly, the dregs of it, is pernicious to the 
morality of peoples living in a more or less primitive condition. 
In Greenland, says Dr. Nansen, "the Eskimo women of the 
larger colonies are far freer in their ways than those of the 
small outlying settlements where there are no Europeans."* 
And the Yokuts of California, amongst whom the freedom of 
the unmarried people of both sexes is very great now, are said 
to have been comparatively virtuous before the arrival of the 
Americans.^ In British Columbia and Vancouver Island, 
" amongst the interior tribes, in primitive times, breaches of 
chastity on the part either of married or unmarried females 

^ Catlin, ' Illustrations of the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the 
North American Indians,' vol. i. p. 121. 
^ Schoolcraft, loc, ciL vol. v. p. 654. 
^ Bancroft, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 514. 

* See Meares, 'Voyages,' p. 251 ; Waitz, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 112. 
•^ Dobrizhoffer, * Account of the Abipones,* vol. ii. p. 153. 

* Nansen, * The First Crossing of Greenland,' vol. ii. p. 329. 
' Powers, loc, cit, p. 381. 


were often punished with death, inflicted either by the brother 
or husband ; " whilst, among the fish-eaters of the north-west 
coast, " it has no meaning, or, if it has, it appears to be utterly 
disregarded." ^ Again, among the Haidahs of Queen Char- 
lotte Islands, the present depravation has, according to Captain 
Jacobsen, been caused by the gold-diggers who went there in 
the middle of this century .^ Admiral Fitzroy observed, too, 
that the unchastity of the Patagonian women did not corre- 
spond with the pure character attributed to them at an earlier 
time by Falkner, and he thinks that " their ideas of propriety 
may have been altered by the visits of licentious strangers."* 
A more recent traveller. Captain Musters, observed, indeed, 
little immorality amongst the Indians whilst in their native 

There is, further, no doubt that the licentiousness of many 
South Sea Islanders, at least to some extent, owes its origin 
to their intercourse with Europeans. When visiting the 
Sandwich Islands with Cook, Vancouver saw little or no 
appearance of wantonness among the women. But when he 
visited them some years afterwards, it was very conspicuous, 
more so than among the worst of the Tahitians ; and he 
ascribes this change in their habits to their intercourse with 
foreigners.* Owing to the same influence, the women of 
Ponap^ lost their modesty ;^ and the privileges granted to 
foreigners in Samoa have been already mentioned. Nay, even 
in Tahiti, so notorious for the licentiousness of its inhabitants, 
immorality was formerly less than it is now. Thus, as a girl, 
betrothed when a child, grew up, " for the preservation of her 
chastity, a small platform of considerable elevation was 
erected for her abode within the dwelling of her parents. 
Here she slept and spent the whole of the time she passed 
within doors. Her parents, or some member of the family, 
attended her by night and by day, supplied her with every 

^ Lord, *Thc Naturalist in Vancouver Island,Wol. ii. p. 233. 

2 Woldt, loc, cit. p. 28. 

' King and Fitzroy, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 173. 

* Musters, * At Home with the Patagonians/ p. 197. 

* Vancouver, * Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean,' vol. i. 
pp. lyi^ei seq. * Waitz-Gerland, lot. cit. vol. v. pt. ii. p. 108. 

F 2 


necessary, and accompanied her whenever she left the house. 
Some of their traditions," Ellis adds, " warrant the inference 
that this mode of life, in early years, was observed by other 
females besides those who were betrothed." ^ 

Speaking of the tribes who once inhabited the Adelaide 
Plains of South Australia, Mr. Edward Stephens, who went 
to Australia about half a century ago, remarks, " Those who 
speak of the natives as a naturally degraded race, either do 
not speak from experience, or they judge them by what they 
have become when the abuse of intoxicants and contact with 
the most wicked of the white race have begun their deadly 
work. As a rule, to which there are no exceptions, if a 
tribe of blacks is found away from the white settlement, the 
more vicious of the white men are most anxious to make the 
acquaintance of the natives, and that, too, solely for purposes 
of immorality. ... I saw the natives and was much with them 
before those dreadful immoralities were well known, . . . and 
I say it fearlessly, that nearly all their evils they owed to the 
white man's immorality and to the white man's drink." ^ 

The Rev. J. Sibree tells us that, among most of the tribes of 
Madagascar, the unchastity of girls does not give umbrage. 
But " there are some other tribes," he says, " more isolated, as 
certain of the eastern peoples, where a higher standard of 
morality prevails, girls being kept scrupulously from any 
intercourse with the other sex until they are married." * 

Nowhere has chastity been more rigorously insisted upon 
than among the South Slavonians. A fallen girl among 
them has lost almost all chance of getting married. She is 
commonly despised and often punished in a very barbarous 
way ; whilst, on the other hand, purity gives a girl a higher 
value than the greatest wealth. In some places, a father or a 
brother may even kill a man whom he finds with his daughter 
or sister. But Dr. Krauss assures us that this rigidity in their 
morals has gradually decreased, the more foreign civilization 
has got a footing among them.* 

^ Ellis, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 270. 

* Stephens, *The Aborigines of Australia,* in *Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. 
Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 480. 

^ Sibree, *The Great African Island,' p. 252. 

* Krauss, ' Sitte und Brauch der Sudslaven,' ch. xii. pp. 197-227. 


Again, Professor Ahlqvist believes that illicit intercourse 
between the sexes was almost unknown among the ancient 
Finns, as the terms used by them with reference to such con- 
nections are borrowed from other languages.^ And Professor 
Vdmb^ry makes the same observation as regards the primitive 
Turko-Tartars. " The difference in morality," he says, 
" which exists between the Turks affected by a foreign civili- 
zation and kindred tribes inhabiting the steppes, becomes 
very conspicuous to any one living among the Turko- 
mans and Kara-Kalpaks ; for whether in Africa or Asia, 
certain vices are introduced only by the so-called bearers of 
culture." * 

Apart from such cases of foreign influence, we may perhaps 
say that irregular connections between the sexes have, on the 
whole, exhibited a tendency to increase along with the progress 
of civilization- Dr. Fritsch remarks that the Bushmans are 
much stricter in that matter than their far more advanced 
neighbours.' Robert Drury assures us that, in Madagascar, 
" there are more modest women, in proportion to the number 
of people, than in England." * Tacitus praised the chastity of 
the Germanic youth, in contrast to the licentiousness of the 
highly civilized Romans. These statements may to a certain 
extent be considered typical. In Europe, there are born 
among towns-people, on an average, twice as many bastard 
children, in proportion to the number of births, as among the 
inhabitants of the country, who generally lead a more natural 
life. In France, according to Wappaus, the ratio was found 
even so great as IS' 13 to 4*24; though in Saxony, with its 
manufacturing country people, it was only as 15 "39 to I4"64.^ 
Nay, in Gratz and Munich the illegitimate births are even 
more numerous than the legitimate.* The prostitution of 
the towns makes the difference in morality still greater ; and 

' Ahlqvist, loc. ctt. p. 214. 

* VdmbA-y, *Die primitive Cultur des turko-tatarischen Volkes 
p. 72. 

* Fritsch, loc. ciL p. 444. 

* Drury, 'Adventures during Fifteen Years' Captivity on the Island 
of Madagascar,' p. 323. 

'* Wappaus, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 484. 

* V. Oettingen, * Moralstatistik,' p. 317. 


unfortunately the evil is growing. Almost everywhere pro- 
stitution increases in a higher ratio than population.^ In 
consideration of these facts, it is almost ridiculous to speak of 
the immorality of unmarried people among savages as a relic 
of an alleged primitive stage of promiscuity. 

There are several factors in civilization which account for 
this bad result. The more unnatural mode of living and the 
greater number of excitements exercise, no doubt, a deteri- 
orating influence on morality ; and poverty makes prostitutes 
of many girls who are little more than children. But the chief 
factor is the growing number of unmarried people. It is proved 
that, in the cities of Europe, prostitution increases according 
as the number of marriages decreases.* It has also been 
established, thanks to the statistical investigations of Engel 
and others, that the fewer the marriages contracted in a year, 
the greater is the ratio of illegitimate births.* Thus, by making 
celibacy more common, civilization promotes sexual irregu- 
larity. It is true that more elevated moral feelings, concomitants 
of a higher mental development, may, to a certain extent, put 
the drag on passion. But in a savage condition of life, where 
every full-grown man marries as soon as possible ; where 
almost every girl, when she reaches the age of puberty, is given 
in marriage ; where, consequently, bachelors and spinsters are 
of rare occurrence, — there is comparatively little reason for 
illegitimate relations.* Marriage, it seems to me, is the natural 
form of the sexual relations of man, as of his nearest allies 
among the lower animals. Far from being a relic of the 
primitive life of man, irregularity in this respect is an anomaly 
arising chiefly from circumstances associated with certain stages 
of human development. 

Dr. Post's argument, as I have said, is open to another 
objection. Free sexual intercourse previous to marriage is 
quite a different thing from promiscuity, the most genuine form 
of which is prostitution. But prostitution is rare among peoples 

^ V. Oettingen, loc. cit, p. 199. 

* Ilnd,, pp. 199, 216. ' Ibid,, p. 327. 

* Cf. Barth, loc, cit. vol. ii, p. 18 ; v. Holten, * Das Land der Yurakarer,' 
in *Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologic,* vol. ix. p. 109 ; Hunter, * The Annals of 
Rural Bengal,' vol. i. p. 205. 


living in a state of nature and unaffected by foreign influence.^ 
It is contrary to woman's natural feelings as involving a 
suppression of individual inclinations. In free sexual inter- 
course there is selection ; a woman has for one man, or for 
several men, a preference which generally makes the con- 
nections more durable. 

Nowhere are unmarried people of both sexes less restrained 
than among the savage nations of India and Indo-China. Yet 
among these savage nations there is no promiscuity. Among 
the Toungtha, for instance, according to Captain Lewin, pros- 
titution is not understood, and, when explained, it is regarded by 
them with abhorrence. " They draw rightly a strong distinction 
between a woman prostituting herself habitually as a means 
of livelihood, and the intercourse by mutual consent of two 
members of opposite sexes, leading, as it generally does, to 
marriage." ^ Among the Tipperahs,^ Ordons,* and Kolyas,* 
unmarried girls may cohabit freely with young men, but are 
never found living promiscuously with them. Among the 
Dyaks on the Batang Lupar, too, unchastity is not rare, but a 
woman usually confines herself to one lover. " Should the girl 
prove with child," says Sir Spenser St. John, " it is an under- 
standing between them that they marry " ; and the men seldom, 
by denying the paternity, refuse to fulfil their engagements.^ 
Again, in Tonga, it was considered disgraceful for a girl to 
change lovers often. And in Scotland, prior to the Reformation, 
there was a practice, called " hand-fasting," which certainly 
may be characterized as unrestrained freedom before marriage, 
but not as promiscuity. " At the public fairs," the Rev. Ch. 
Rogers states, " men selected female companions with whom to 
cohabit for a year. At the expiry of this period both parties 
were accounted free ; they might either unite in marriage or 
live singly." 

* Cf, Waitz, loc, cit. voL ii. p. 114 ; vol. iii. pp. in, 343 ; vol. vi. pp. 125, 
774 ; Powers, loc, cit, p. 415; Lewin, loc. cit, p. 348 ; Martin, loc, cit. 
vol. ii. p. 175 ; Riedel, * De sluik- en kroesharige rassen tusschen Selebes 
en Papua,' pp. 5, 42 ; Marsden, he, cit, p. 261. * Lewin, p. 193. 
• * Ibid,^ p. 203, * Dalton, loc. cit, p. 248. 

« Watt, * The Aboriginal Tribes of Manipur,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' 
vol. xvi. p. 358. • St. John, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 53. 

7 Rogers, ' Scotland Social and Domestic,' p. 109. 


The attempt to explain free intercourse between unmarried 
people as a relic of a primitive condition of general promiscuity, 
or rather, to infer the latter from the former, must thus, in 
every respect, be considered a complete failure. 

Sir John Lubbock thinks that his hypothesis of " communal 
marriage" derives additional support from some curious 
customs, which he interprets as acts of expiation for individual 
marriage. " In many cases," he says, " the exclusive possession 
of a wife could only be legally acquired by a temporary recog- 
nition of the pre-existing communal rights." ^ 

Thus Herodotus states that, in Babylonia, every woman was 
obliged once in her life to give herself up, in the temple of 
Mylitta, to strangers, for the satisfaction of the goddess ; and 
in some parts of Cyprus, he tells us, the same custom prevailed.* 
In Armenia, according to Strabo, there was a very similar 
law. The daughters of good families were consecrated to 
Anaitis, a phallic divinity like Mylitta, giving themselves, as 
it appears, to the worshippers of the goddess indiscriminately.* 
Again, in the valleys of the Ganges, virgins were compelled 
before marriage to offer themselves up in the temples dedicated 
to Juggernaut. And the same is said to have been customary 
in Pondicherry and at Goa. * 

These practices, however, evidently belong to phallic-worship, 
and occurred, as Mr. McLennan justly remarks, among peoples 
who had advanced far beyond the primitive state. The farther 
back we go, the less we find of such customs in India ; " the 
germ only of phallic-worship shows itself in the Vedas, and 
the gross luxuriance of licentiousness, of which the cases 
referred to are examples, is of later growth." * 

Ancient writers tell us that, among the Nasamonians and 
Augilae, two Libyan tribes, the jus primae noctis was ac- 
corded to all the guests at a marriage.^ Garcilasso de la 
Vega asserts that, in the province Manta in' Peru, marriages 

* Lubbock, loc, ciL p. 536. 

^ Herodotus, loc. cit, book i. ch. 199. ' Strabo, loc. at. bookxi. p. 532* 

* Lubbock, pp. 535-537. * McLennan, loc, cit. p. 341. 

^ Herodotus, book iv. ch. 172. Pomponius Mela, ' De Situ Orbis,' 
book i. cb. 8. 


took place on condition that the bride should first yield 
herself to the relatives and friends of the bridegroom. ^ In the 
Balearic Islands, according to Diodorus Siculus, the bride was 
for one night considered the common property of all the guests, 
after which she belonged exclusively to her husband. ^ And 
V. Langsdorf reports the occurrence of a very similar practice 
in Nukahiva. * 

With regard to Sir J. Lubbock's interpretation of these 
customs, as acts of expiation for individual marriage, Mr. 
McLennan remarks that they are not cases of privileges 
accorded to the men of the bridegroom's group only, which 
they should be, if they refer to an ancient communal right* 
It may also be noted that, in Nukahiva, the license was depend- 
ent upon the will of the bride. Moreover, the freedom granted 
to the wedding guests may be simply and naturally explained. 
It may have been a part of the nuptial entertainment, — a 
horrible kind of hospitality, no doubt, but quite in accordance 
with savage ideas, and analogous to another custom, which 
occurs much more frequently ; I mean the practice of lending 

Among many uncivilized peoples, it is customary for a man 
to offer his wife, or one of his wives, to strangers for the time 
they stay in his hut. Even this practice has been adduced by 
several writers as evidence of a former communism. ^ To 
Sir John Lubbock it seems to involve the recognition of " a 
right inherent in every member of the community, and to 
visitors as temporary members." Were this so, we should 
certainly have to conclude that " communal marriage " has 
been very prevalent in the human race, the practice of lending 
wives occurring among many peoples in different parts of the 

^ Garcilasso de la Vega, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 442. 

^ Diodorus Siculus, ' Bc/SXiodi^in; Urropucff/ book v. ch. i. 

* V. Langsdorf, * Voyages and Travels,' vol. i. p. 153. 

* McLennan, /oc. cit. p. 341. The case stated by Garcilasso de la 
Vega must, however, be excepted. 

^ Lubbock, loc, cit, p. 132. Post, 'Die Geschlechtsgenossenschaft der 
Urzeit,' pp. 34, et seq, Le Bon, * LHiomme et les soci^t^s,* vol. ii. p. 292. 
Lippert, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 17. Kohler, in 'Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss./ 
vol. vii. p. 327. 


world. ^ But it is difficult to see how the practice could ever have 
been in any way connected with communism in women for all 
men belonging to the same tribe. It is not always the wife 
that is offered : it may as well be a daughter, a sister, or a 
servant.^ Thus the people of Madagascar warn strangers to 
behave with decency to their wives, though they readily offer 
their daughters ; * and it is asserted that a Tungus " will give 
his daughter for a t^me to any friend or traveller that he takes 
a liking to," and if he has no daughter, he will give his servant, 
but not his wives.* 

It can scarcely be doubted that such customs are due merely 
to savage ideas of hospitality. When we are told that, among 
the coast tribes of British Columbia, " the temporary present of 

1 It occurs among the Kafirs (v. Weber, * Vier Jahre in Afrika,' vol. ii. 
p. 2x8), several Central African peoples (Reade, loc, cit, p. 262. Du 
Chaillu, loc, cit p. 47. MeroUa da Sorrento, 'Voyage to Congo,' in 
Pinkerton, * Collection of Voyages,' vol. xvi. p. 272. Waitz, loc. cit, vol. 
ii. p. 114), the Aleuts (Dall, loc, cit. p. 399. Bancroft, /^r. cit. vol. i. 
pp. 92, et seq, Georgi, loc, cit, p. 372), Eskimo (Bancroft, vol. i. p. 65), 
Crees (Mackenzie, * Voyages to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans,' p. xcvi.), 
Comanches (Schoolcraft, loc. cit. vol. v. p. 684), Apaches (Bancroft, voL i. 
p. 514), some Californians (Powers, loc, cit. p. 153), the aborigines of 
Surinam (Moore, loc. cit. p. 267) and Brazil (v. Martius, loc. cit, vol. i. 
p. 118), Sinhalese (Pridham, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 250), Dyaks of Sidin 
(Western Borneo) and Orang-Sekah (Wilken, in ' Bijdragen tot de taal-, 
land- en volkenkunde van Nederlandsch- Indie,' ser. v. vol. iv. p. 451), the 
Australians (Angas, * Savage Life,' vol. i. p. 93. Wilkes, loc, cit, vol. ii. 
p. 195. Kohler, in *Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. vii. pp. 326, et seq, 
C\xrr, loc, cit, vol. i. p. no), Tasmanians (Bonwick, loc, cit, p. 75), Papuans 
(Zimmermann, 'Die Inseln des indischen und stillen Meeres,' vol. ii. 
p. 183), Caroline Islanders (Kotzebue, loc, cit. vol. iii. p. 212), and some 
other Pacific Islanders (Macdonald, ' Oceania,' p. 194. Post, ' Die 
Geschlechtsgenossenschaft,' p. 35), as also the Votyaks and certain Sibe- 
rian peoples (Buch, * Die Wotjaken,' p. 48). This list might easily be 

* Waitz, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. iii. Regnard, 'Journey to Lapland/ in 

Pinkerton, * Collection of Voyages,' vol. i. pp. 166, et seq, Moore, loc, cit. 

p. 267. Marco Polo, ' The Kingdoms and Marvels of the East,' voL ii. 

p. 34. Post, ^Die Geschlechtsgenossenschaft,' pp. 34, et seq, Coxe, 

' The Russian Discoveries between Asia and America,' p. 245. 

3 Rochon, 'Voyage to Madagascar,' in Pinkerton, 'Collection of 
Voyages,' vol. xvi. p. 747. 

^ Sauer, ' Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia,' p. 49. 


a wife is one of the greatest honours that can be shown there 
to a guest ; " ^ or, that such an offer was considered by the 
Eskimo " as an act of generous hospitality ; " ^ or, that " this is 
the common custom when the negroes wish to pay respect to 
their guests, " ^ — I cannot see why we should look for a deeper 
meaning in these practices than that which the words imply. 
A man offers a visitor his wife as he offers him a seat at his 
table. It is the greatest honour a savage can show his guest, 
as a temporary exchange of wives — a custom prevalent in 
North America, Polynesia, and elsewhere * — is regarded as a 
seal of the most intimate friendship. Hence, among the 
Greenlanders, those men were reputed the best and noblest 
tempered, who, without any pain or reluctance, would lend 
their friends their wives ; ^ and the men of Caindu, a region of 
Eastern Tibet, hoped by such an offering to obtain the 
favour of the gods.^ Indeed, if the practice of lending wives is 
to be regarded as a relic of ancient communism in women, we 
may equally well regard the practice of giving presents to 
friends, or hospitality in other respects, as a remnant of ancient 
communism in property of every kind. 

TYi^juspritnae noctis granted to the friends of the bridegroom 
may, however, be derived from another source. Touching the 
capture of wives, Mr. Brough Smyth states that, in New South 
Wales and about Riverina, "in any instance where the abduction 
has taken place by a party of men for the benefit of some 
one individual, each of the members of the party claims, as a 
right, a privilege which the intended husband has no power to 
refuse." ^ A similar custom prevails, according to Mr. Johnston, 
among the Wa-taita in Eastern Central Africa, though the 
capture here is a symbol only. After the girl has been bought 
by the bridegroom, she runs away and affects to hide. Then 

* Sproat, * Scenes and Studies of Savage Life/ p. 95. 

* Richardson, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 356. ^ Du Chaillu, loc, cit, p. 47. 

* Lyon, *The Private Journal,* &c., p. 354. Hearne, loc, cit. p. 129. 
Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 92. Steller, * Beschreibung von Kamtschatka,* 
P« 347' Waitz, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 308 ; vol. vi. pp. 130, 131, 622. Kotzebue, 
loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 172. Zimmermann, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 247. 

* Egede, loc. dt. p. 140. • Marco Polo, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 34. 

' Brough Smyth, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 316. Cf. Mathew, in* Jour. Roy. 
Soc. N. S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 404. 


she IS sought out by him and three or four of his friends. 
When she is found, the men seize her and carry her off to the 
hut of her future husband, where she is placed at the disposal 
of her captors. ^ In such cases thi^jus prvnae noctis is a reward 
for a good turn done, or perhaps, as Mr. McLennan suggests, * 
a common war-right, exercised by the captors of the woman. 
If we knew all the circumstances, this explanation might prove 
to hold good also with regard to the right granted to the 
wedding-guests in the cases we have mentioned. At any rate, 
it must be admitted that these strange customs may be 
interpreted in a much simpler way than that suggested by Sir 
John Lubbock. 

There are some instances oijus primae noctis accorded to a 
particular person, a chief or a priest. Thus, among the Kini- 
petu-Eskimo, the Ankut, or high-priest, has this right * Among 
the Caribs, the bridegroom received his bride from the hand of 
the Piache, or medicine-man, and certainly not as a virgin.* 
A similar custom is met with among certain Brazilian tribes, 
though in some of these cases it is to the chief that the right 
in question belongs.* The Spanish nobleman Andagoya states 
that, in Nicaragua, a priest living in the temple was with the 
bride during the night preceding her marri^e. ® And among 
the Tahus in Northern Mexico, according to CastafLeda, the 
droit du seigneur was accorded to the cacique.^ 

In descriptions of travel in the fifteenth century, the 
aboriginal inhabitants of Teneriffe are represented as having 
married no woman who had not previously spent a night with 
the chief, which was considered a great honour. ® The same 

^ Johnston, 'The Kilima-njaro Expedition,' p. 431. 

' McLennan, loc, cit p. 337, note. Cf. Mathew, .in * Jour. Roy. Soc. 
N. S. Wales,' voL xxiii. p. 404. 

8 * Das Ausland/ 1881, p. 698. 'Revue des deux Mondes,' 1883, June 
I, p. 688, * Waitz, loc. cit, voL iii. p. 382. 

* V. Martius, loc. cit, vol. i. pp. 113, 428, 485. 

• Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 671. 

7 IbicL^ vol. i. pp. 584, et seq, Bastian, in *Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie,* 
vol. vi. p. 408, note. 

® Bontier and Le Verrier, * The Canarian,' Introduction, p. xxxv. Cf, 
Glas, *The History of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary 
Islands,' in Pinkerton, 'Collection of Voyages/ vol. xvi. p. 819. 


right, according to Dr. Ba^th, was presumably granted to the 
chief of Bagele in Adamdua ; ^ and, according to Herodotus, to 
the king of the ancient Adyrmachidae. ^ Navarette tells 
us that, on the coast of Malabar, the bridegroom brought the 
bride to the king, who kept her eight days in his palace ; 
and the man took it " as a great honour and favour that 
his king would make use of her." * Again, according to 
Hamilton, a Samorin could not take his bride home for three 
nights, during which the chief priest had a claim to her com- 
pany.* Sugenheim believes even that, in certain parts of 
France, a similar right was accorded to the higher clergy 
during the Middle Ages. * 

Yet Dr. Karl Schmidt has endeavoured, in a learned work, 
to prove that the droit du seigneur never existed in Europe, 
the later belief in it being merely " ein gelehrter Aberglaube," 
which arose in various ways. Thus there was classical wit- 
ness to ancient traditions of tyrants, who had distinguished 
themselves by such proceedings as that right was supposed to 
legalize. From various parts of the world came reports of 
travellers as to tribes among whom defloration was the privilege 
or duty of kings, priests, or other persons set apart for the 
purpose. A grosser meaning than the words will warrant had, 
besides, in Dr. Schmidt's opinion, been attached to the fine 
paid by the vassal to his feudal lord for permission to marry. 
That law, he says, which is believed to have extended over 
a large part of Europe, has left no evidence of its existence in 
laws, charters, decretals, trials, or glossaries.® 

* Barth, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 571, note*. 

* Herodotus, loc, ciL book iv. ch. 168. 

' Navarette, *The Great Empire of China,* in Awnsham and 
Churchill's * Collection of Voyages and Travels,' voL i. p. 320. 

* Hamilton, * New Account of the East Indies,' in Pinkerton, * Collec- 
tion of Voyages,' vol. viii. p. 374. 

* Sugenheim, 'Geschichte der Aufhebung der Leibeigenschaft und 
Horigkeit in Europa,' p. 104. Philip VI. and Charles VI. could not, in 
the fourteenth century, induce the Bishops of Amiens to give up the old 
custom, ''dass jedes neuvermahlte Paar ihrer Stadt und Diocese die 
Erlaubniss zur ehelichen Beiwohnung in den drei ersten Nachten nach 
der Trauung von ihnen mittelst einer bedeutenden Abgabe erkaufen 

* Schmidt, 'Jus primae noctis,' pp. 379, &c. 


This is not the proper place to discuss Dr. Schmidt's hypo- 
thesis ; but his arguments do not seem to be conclusive. ^ 
Se\'eral writers speak of estate-owners in Russia who claimed 
the droit du seigneur in the last and even the present century ; * 
and a friend of mine informs me that, when travelling in that 
country, he met with aged men whose wives had been victims 
of the custom. It was certainly a privilege taken by the law 
of might. But how in such cases shall we draw the line between 
might and what is popularly accepted as right ? 

Bachofen, Giraud-Teulon, Kulischer, and other writers* 
regard ih/t Jus primae noctis accorded to a special person, as a 
remnant of a primitive state of promiscuity or " communal 
marriage." It is, in their opinion, a transformation of the 
ancient communal right, which was taken away from the 
community and transferred to those who chiefly represented 
it — the priest, the king, or the nobility. 

But why may not the practice in question have been simply 
a consequence of might } It may be a right taken forcibly by 
the stronger, or it may be a privilege voluntarily given to the 
chief man as a mark of esteem, — in either case, it depends upon 
his authority. Indeed, the right of encroaching upon the 
marital rights of a subject is not commonly restricted to the 
first night only. Where the chief or the king has the power 
of life and death, what man can prohibit him from doing his 
will ? " Quite indisputed," Dr. Holub says, with reference to 
the Marutse, " is the king's power to put to death, or to make a 
slave of any one of his subjects in any way he chooses ; he may 
take a man's wife simply by providing him with another wife 
as a substitute," * In Dahomey, all women belong to the king, 

^ See Professor Kohler's criticism in *Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. 
iv. pp. 279-287. 

' Kulischer, * Die communale " Zeitehe,'* ' in * Archiv fiir Anthropologic,' 
vol. xi. pp. 228, et seq. 

' Bachofen, ' Das Mutterrecht,' pp. 12, 13, 17, r8, &c. Giraud-Teulon, 
loc. cit, pp. 32, &c. Kulischer, in * Archiv fur Anthropologic,' vol. xi. p. 
223. Post, * Die Geschlechtsgenossenschaft,' p. 37. Lubbock, loc. cit p. 
537. Wilken, in * De Indische Gids,' 1880, vol. ii. p. 1196. Sec Schmidt, 
* Das Streit iiber das jus primae noctis,' in * Zeitschrift flir Ethnologic,' vol. 
xvi. pp. 44, et seq. 

* Holub, * Seven Years in South Africa,* vol. ii. pp. 160, et seq. 


who causes every girl to be brought to him before marriage, 
and, if he pleases, retains her in the palace. ^ Among the 
Negroes in Fida, according to Bosman, the captains of the king, 
who have to supply him with fresh wives, immediately present 
to him any beautiful virgin they may see ; and none of his 
subjects dare presume to offer objections. * In Persia, it was 
a legal principle that whatever was touched by the king 
remained immaculate, and that he might go into the harem of 
any of his subjects. * Among the Kukis, "all the women of 
the village, married or single, are at the pleasure of the rajah," 
who is regarded by his people with almost superstitious venera- 
tion.* The Kalmuck priests, who are not suffered to marry, may, 
it is said, pass a night with any man's wife, and this is esteemed 
a favour by the husband. * And in Chamba (probably Cochin 
China), Marco Polo tells us, no woman was allowed to marry 
until the king had seen her. ® 

According to Dr. Zimmermann, it is a dogma among many 
Malays that the rajah has the entire disposal of the wives and 
children of his subjects. ^ In New Zealand, when a chief 
desires to take to himself a wife, he fixes his attention upon 
one and takes her, if need be by force, without consulting her 
feelings and wishes, or those of anyone else.^ In Tonga, the 
women of the lower people were at the disposal of the chiefs, 
who even used to shoot the husbands, if they made resistance ; ® 
whilst in Congo, as we are told by Mr. Reade, when the king 
takes a fresh concubine, her husband and all her lovers are put 
to death. ^^ 

In the interesting * Notes of a Country Clergyman ' in 
Rtisskaja StarinA (* Russian Antiquity '), much light is thrown 
on the life of Russian landlords before the emancipation of the 
serfs. Here is what is said of one of them : — " Often N. I — tsch 

^ Bastian, * Dcr Mensch in der Geschichte,' vol. iii. p. 302. Burton, 
* Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome,* vol. ii. p. 67. 

2 Bosman, * Description of the Coast of Guinea,' in Pinkerton, * Col- 
lection of Voyages,' vol. xvi. p. 480. 

^ Moore, loc, cit, p. 161. * Dalton, loc. cit. p. 45. 

* Moore, p. 182. * Marco Polo, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 213. 

7 Zimmermann, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 29. 

•* Yate, * Account of New Zealand,' p. 96. 

^ Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. vi. p. 184. *" Reade, loc, cit, p. 359. 


would stroll late in the evening about his village to admire 
the prosperous condition of his peasants ; he would stop at 
some cottage, look in at the window, and tap on the pane with 
his finger. This tapping was well known to everybody, and 
in a moment the best-looking woman of the family went out 
to him." . . . Another landlord, whenever he visited his 
estate, demanded from the manager, immediately after his 
arrival, a list of all the grown-up girls. " Then," the author 
continues, " the master took to his service each of the girls for 
three or four days, and as soon as the list was finished, he went 
off to another village. This occurred regularly every year." ^ 
Here we have a collection of facts, belonging, as I think, to 
the same group as \hit jus primae noctis of a chief or a priest. 
And it is obvious that they have nothing to do with " com« 
munal marriage." The privilege accorded to the priest,-however, 
seems, in some cases, to have a purely religious origin. Thus, 
Egede informs us that the native women of Greenland thought 
themselves fortunate if an Angekokk, or prophet, honoured 
them with his caresses ; and some husbands even paid him, 
because they believed that the child of such a holy man could 
not but be happier and better than others.^ Von Martins thinks 
that the right granted to the medicine-man among the Brazilian 
aborigines is owing to savage ideas of woman's impurity. ^ 
And on the coast of Malabar, Hamilton says, the bride was 
given to the chief priest, " because the first fruits of her nuptials 
must be a holy oblation to the god she worships." * 

Yet another group of facts is adduced as evidence for the 
hypothesis of ancient communism in women. Sir J. Lubbock 
and Professor Giraud-Teulon cite some cases of courtesans 
being held in greater estimation than women married to a single 
husband, or, at least, being by no means despised.^ Such 
feelings, Sir John believes, would naturally arise " when the 
special wife was a stranger and a slave, while the communal 

^ ' SanicKH ceiKKaro CBHiqeHHHKa,' in ' PyccRaii CrapBHa/ vol. xxvii. pp. 63,77. 

* Egede, loc. cit. p. 140. ' v. Martius, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 113, ^/ seq, 

* Hamilton, loc, cit. p. 374. 

* Lubbock, loc. cit pp. 133, 537-539- Giraud-Teulon, loc, cit, pp. 


wife was a relative and a free- woman," and would, in some 
instances, long survive the social condition to which they owed 
their origin.^ The courtesans are thus regarded as represent- 
atives of the communal wives of primitive times. But it seems 
to me much more reasonable to suppose that if, in Athens 
and India, courtesans were respected and sought after even by 
the principal men, it was because they were the only educated 
women.* Besides, as Mr. McLennan justly remarks with regard 
to such " communal wives," " if any inference is to be made 
from their standing in Athens, in the brilliant age of Pericles, 
as to the state of matters in the primitive groups, proof of 
primitive communism in women might as well be sought in 
London or Paris in our own day. Far back in the interval 
between savagery and the age of Pericles are the heroes of 
Homer, with their noble wedded wives." ^ 

It is true that, among some uncivilized peoples, women 
having many gallants are esteemed better than virgins, and are 
more anxiously desired in marriage. This is, for instance,, 
stated to be the case with the Indians of Quito,* the Lap- 
landers in Regnard's days,^ and the Hill Tribes of North 
Aracan.® But in each of these cases we are expressly told 
that want of chastity is considered a merit in the bride, 
because it is held to be the best testimony to the value 
of her attractions. There are thus various reasons why 
courtesans and licentious women may be held in respect 
and sought after, and we need not, therefore, resort to Sir 
John Lubbock's far-fetched hypothesis. 

1 Lubbock, loc, cU, p. 539. 

2 See Giraud-Teulon, loc, cit. p. 44. ' McLennan, loc, cit, p. 343. 

^ Juan and Ulloa, * Voyage to South America,' in Pinkerton, * Collec- 
tion of Voyages,' vol. xiv. p. 521. ^ Regnard, he. cit, p. 166! 

6 St. Andrew St. John, * The Hill Tribes of North Aracan,' in * Jour. 
Anthr. InsL,' vol. ii. p. 239. 




We are indebted to Mr. Lewis H. Morgan for information 
as to the names of various degrees of kinship among no fewer 
than 139 different races or tribes. This collection shows that 
very many peoples have a nomenclature of relationships quite 
different from our own. Mr. Morgan divides the systems into 
two great classes, the descriptive and the classificatory, which 
he regards as radically distinct. " The first," he says, " which 
is that of the Aryan, Semitic, and Uralian families, rejecting 
the classification of kindred, except so far as it is in accordance 
with the numerical system, describes collateral consanguine!, 
for the most part, by an augmentation or combination of the 
primary terms of relationship. These terms, which are those 
for husband and wife, father and mother, brother and sister, 
and son and daughter, to which must be added, in such 
languages as possess them, grandfather and grandmother, and 
grandson and granddaughter, are thus restricted totheprimary 
sense in which they are here employed. All other terms are 
secondary. Each relationship is thus made independent and 
distinct from every other. But the second, which is that of 
the Turanian, American Indian, and Malayan families, rejecting 
descriptive phrases in every instance, and reducing consanguinei 
to great classes by a series of apparently arbitrary generaliza- 
tions, applies the same terms to all the members of the same 
class. It thus confounds relationships, which, under the 
descriptive system, are distinct, and enlarges the signification 


both of the primary and secondary terms beyond their 
seemingly appropriate sense." ^ 

The most primitive form of the classificatory group is the 
system of the " Malayan family," ^ which prevails among the 
Hawaiians, Kingsmill Islanders, Maoris, and, presumably, 
also among several other Polynesian and Micronesian tribes.^ 
According to this system, all consanguine!, near and remote, 
are classified into five categories. My brothers and sisters, 
and my first, second, third, and more remote male and female 
cousins, are the first category. To all these without distinction 
I apply the same term. My father and mother, together with 
their brothers and sisters, and their first, second, and more 
remote cousins, are the second category. To all these without 
distinction I apply likewise the same term. The brothers, 
sisters, and several cousins of my grandparents I denominate 
as if they were my grandparents ; the cousins of my sons and 
daughters, as if they were my sons and daughters ; the grand- 
children of my brothers and sisters and their several cousins, 
as if they were my own grandchildren. All the individuals of 
the same category address each other as if they were brothers 
and sisters. Uncleship, auntship, and cousinship being ignored, 
we have, as far as the nomenclature is considered, only 
grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, children, and 

From this system of nomenclature all the others belonging 
to the classificatory group have, according to Mr. Morgan, been 
gradually developed. The system of the Two-Mountain 
Iroquois differs from that of the Hawaiians essentially in two 
respects only, the mother's brother being distinguished by a 
special term, and so also a sister's children. The Micmac system 
is somewhat more advanced. Not only does a man call his 
sister's son his nephew, but a woman applies the same term to 
her brother's son ; and not only is a mother's brother termed 

^ Morgan, 'Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human 
Family/ p. 12. 

^ ' Mala)ran,' as Dr. Wallace remarks, is a bad term, as this system 
does not occur among true Malays. ^ Morgan, pp. 450, et seq. 

* Idem^ * Ancient Society,' pp. 403, et seq. Ideniy ' Systems of Con- 
sanguinity and Affinity,' pp. 482, et seq. 

G 2 


an uncle, but also the father's sister is distinguished by a special 
term, as an aunt. A father's brother is called a " little father ; '* 
and a mother's sister, a " little mother." Still more advanced 
is the system of the Wyandots, which may be regarded as the 
typical system of the Indians.^ A mother's brother's son and 
a father's sister's son are no longer called by the same terms as 
brothers, but are recognized as cousins ; and women apply to 
their mother's brother's grandsons no longer the same term as 
to their sons, but call them nephews. 

It is needless to enter into further details. Those who 
shrink from the trouble of reading through Mr. Morgan's 
extensive tables, will find an excellent summary of them in the 
fifth chapter of Sir John Lubbock's great work on * The Origin 
of Civilisation.' It may, however, be added that the most 
advanced system of the classificatory group is that of the 
Karens and Eskimo, which differs from our own in three 
respects only. The children of cousins are termed nephews ; 
the children of nephews, grandchildren ; and a grandfather's 
brothers and sisters, respectively, grandfathers and g^rand- 
mothers. "Hence," says Sir John Lubbock, "though the 
Karens and Eskimo have now a far more correct system of 
nomenclature than that of many other races, we find, even in 
this, clear traces of a time when these peoples had not advanced 
in this respect beyond the lowest stage." ^ 

From these systems of nomenclature Mr. Morgan draws ver>^ 
far-reaching conclusions, assuming that they are necessarily 
to be explained by early marriage customs. Thus, from the 
" Malayan system," he infers the former prevalence of" marriage 
in a group " of all brothers and sisters and cousins of the same 
grade or generation ; or, more correctly, his case is, that if we 
can explain the " Malayan system " on the assumption that 
such a general custom once existed, then we must believe that 
it did formerly exist " Without this custom," he says, " it is 
impossible to explain the origin of the system from the nature 
of descents. There is, therefore, a necessity for the prevalence 
of this custom amongst the remote ancestors of all the nations 
which now possess the classificatory system, if the system itself 

* Lubbock, he, cit p. 184. ^ Ihid.^ p. 196. 



is to be regarded as having a natural origin." ^ The family 
resulting from this custom he calls, in his latest work, the 
" consanguine family," and in this, consisting of a body of 
kinsfolk, within which there prevailed promiscuity, or " com- 
munal marriage,*' between all men and women of the same 
generation, the family in its first stage is recognized.* Mr- 
Morgan believes, however, that as a necessary condition ante- 
cedent to this form of the family, promiscuity, in a wider sense 
of the term, may be theoretically deduced, though, as he says, 
** it lies concealed in the misty antiquity of mankind beyond 
the reach of positive knowledge." ^ 

It is needless here to consider whether the last conclusion 
holds good. I shall endeavour to prove that Mr. Morgan's 
inference of a stage of promiscuous intercourse even within the 
prescribed limits is altogether untenable. All depends on the 
point whether the " classificatory system " is a system of 
blood«ties, the nomenclature having been founded on blood- 
relationship, as near as the parentage of individuals could be 
known. Mr. Morgan assumes this, instead of proving it. 

Yet in the terms themselves there is, generally, nothing 
which indicates that they imply an idea of consanguinity. 
Professor Buschmann has given us a very interesting list of 
the names for father and mother in many different languages.* 
The similarity of the terms is striking. " Pa," " papa," or 
*** baba," for instance, means father in several languages of the 
Old and New World, and " ma," " mama," means mother. The 
Tupis in Brazil have " paia" for father, and " maia " for mother ; ^ 
the Uaragua9u, respectively, " paptko " and " mamko." ^ In 
other languages the terms for father are " ab," " aba," " apa," 

* Morgan, ' Systems,' &c., p. 488. 

^ As the second form he assumes the ' Punaluan family,' which was 
founded upon intermarriage of several sisters and female cousins with 
•each other's husbands (or several brothers and male cousins with each 
other's wives) in a group, the joint husbands (or wives) not being neces- 
sarily akin to each other, although often so (* Ancient Society,' p. 384). 

^ Ibid,^ p. 502. Cf, Morgan, * Systems/ &c, pp. 487, et seq, 

* Buschmann, * Ueber den Naturlaut,' in ' Philologische und historische 
Abhandlungen der Konigl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin,' 
1852, pp. 391-423. Independently of him Sir J. Lubbock has compiled 
a similar table in * The Origin of Civilisation,' pp. 427-432. 

* v. Martius, loc. cit, vol. ii. pp. 10, 9. ^ Ibid,, vol. ii. p. 18. 


« ada," " ata," " tata ; " those for mother, " ama," " ema," " ana/' 
" ena," &c. According to Buschmann, there are four typical 
forms of words for each of these ideas : for father, " pa," ** ta," 
" ap," " at ; " for mother, " ma,*' " na," " am," " an." Sometimes, 
however, the meaning of the types is reversed. Thus, in 
Georgian,^ as well as in the Mahaga language of Ysabel,* 
" mama " stands for father ; whilst the Tuluvas in Southern 
India call the father '* amme," and the mother " appe." ^ 

The terms used often fall outside of the types mentioned* 
In the Lifu tongue, for example, one term for father is " kaka ; " * 
in the Duauru language of Baladea, " chicha ; " ^ in the 
Marfan tongue, " chacha " or ** cheche." ^ Again, among the 
Chalcha Mongols and some related peoples, mother is " ekfe " * 
In the Kanuri language, of Central Africa, the mother is called 
" ya ; " 8 while the Kechua in Brazil call the father " yaya." * 
Among the Bakongo, as I am informed by Mr. Ingham, **se*' 
means father ; in Finnish, " isa." Again, by the Brazilian 
BakaYri, the mother is called " ise ; " ^® and, by the people of 
Aneiteum, New Hebrides, " risi." ^^ 

Similar terms are often used for other relationships. The 
Greek " tramro^ " signifies grandfather, and " fidfufui " grand- 
mother. In the Kanuri language, " yaya " stands for elder 
brother ; ^2 and, in Lifuan, '* mama " and " dhina " are terms for 
brother, whilst mother is " thine." ^^ 

The origin of such terms is obvious. They are formed from 
the easiest sounds a child can produce. " * Pa-pa,' * ma-ma/ 
' tatal,' and ^apa,'* ama,' * ata,' " Professor Preyer says, " emeige 
originally spontaneously, the way of the breath being barred 
at the expiration, either by the lips (/, m), or by the tongue 

^ Hunter, 'Comparative Dictionary of the Languages of India and 
High Asia,' p. 122. 
* von der Gabelentz, * Die melanesischen Sprachen,' vol. ii. p. 139. 
^ Hunter, pp. 122, 143. * von der Gabelentz, vol. ii. p. 52. 

^ Ibid.y voL i. p. 215. • Ibid,^ vol. i. p. 172. 

^ Klaproth, 'Asia Polyglotta,' p. 281. 
^ Barth, ' Central-afrikanische Vokabularien,' p. 212. 
^ V. Martius, loc. ciL voL ii. p. 293. 
^^ von den Steinen, ' Durch Central-Brasilien,' p. 341. 
" von der Gabelentz, vol. i. p. 71. " Barth, p. 214. 

^ von der Gabelentz, vol. ii. p. 52. 


(rf, /)." ^ Yet the different races vary considerably with regard 
to the ease with which they produce certain sounds. Thus the 
pronunciation of the labials is very difficult to many Indians,^ 
on account of which their terms for father, mother, or other 
near kinsfolk, often differ much from the types given by Pro- 
fessor Buschmann. 

It is evident that the terms borrowed from the children's 
lips have no intrinsic meaning whatever. Hence, if a Bakairi 
child calls its father and father's brother " tsogo," its mother 
and mother's sister " tsego ; " ^ if a Macilsi names his paternal 
uncle " papa " as well as his father, and an Efatese names his 
father and all the tribe brothers of his father "ava" or " tama ; " * 
if the Dacotahs apply the term " ahta " not only to the father, 
but also to the father's brother, to the mother's sister's 
husband, to the father's father's brother's son, &c., and the 
term " enah " not only to the mother, but also to the mother's 
sister, to the mother's mother's sister's daughter, &c. ; * if, 
among the New Caledonians, an uncle, taking the place of a 
father, is called " baba " like the father himself, and an aunt is 
called " gnagna " like a mother ; * if, as Archdeacon Hodgson, 
of Zanzibar, writes to me, a native of Eastern Central Africa 
uses the words " baba " and " mama " not only for father and 
mother respectively, but also, very commonly, for ** any near 
relationship or even external connection ; " if, finally, the 
Semitic word for father, " ab " (*' abu "), is not only used in a 
wide range of senses, but, to quote Professor Robertson Smith, 
** in all dialects is used in senses quite inconsistent with the idea 
that procreator is the radical meaning of the word,"^ — we 
certainly must not, from these designations, infer anything as 
to early marriage customs. 

Of course there are other terms applied to kinsfolk besides 
words taken from the lips of children, or words derived from 
these. But though considerable, their number has been some- 

' Preyer, * Die Seele des Kindes,' p. 321. 

^ Lubbock, ioc, at. p. 431. ^ von den Steinen, loc. cit, p. 341. 

^ Schombuigk, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 318. Macdonald, 'Oceania,' pp. 
126, 186. 
'' Moigan, ' Systems,' &c., pp. 295, 313, 339, 348, 358, 362, 368, 374. 
^' Moncelon, in ' Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. ix. p. 366. 
7 Robertson Smith, ' Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia,' p. 117. 


what exaggerated. Thus, for instance, Professor Vdmb6ry, in 
his work upon the primitive culture of the Turko-Tartars, says 
that the terms for mother, '* ana *' or " ene," have originally 
the meaning of woman or nurse, being derived from the roots 
" an " and " en." ^ Exactly the reverse seems to be the fact, 
the terms for mother being the primitive words. In the same 
way, I cannot but think that Professor Max Miiller and several 
other philologists are in error in deriving ** pitir," " pater," 
** father," from the root "pa," which means to protect, to 
nourish ; and " m^tdr," " mater," " mother," from the root " ma," 
to fashion.^ It seems, indeed, far more natural, as has been 
pointed out by Sir J. Lubbock and others, that the roots " pa," 
to protect, Jtnd " ma," to fashion, come from " pa," father, and 
" ma," mother, and not vice versd? I am the more inclined to 
accept this explanation, as Mr. A. J. Swann informs me, from 
Kavala Island, Lake Tanganyika, that, among the Waguha, the 
words '* baba " an<J " tata," which mean father, also have the 
meaning of protector, provider. 

I do not deny that relationships — especially in the collateral 
and descending lines — are in some cases denoted by terms 
derived from roots having an independent meaning ; but the 
number of those that imply an idea of consanguinity does not 
seem to be very great Mr. Bridges writes that, among the Yah- 
gans, " the names ' imu ' and ' dabi ' — father and mother — ^have 
no meaning apart from their application, neither have any of 
their other very definite and ample list of terms for relatives, ex- 
cept the terms * macu ' and ' macipa,' son and daughter. These 
terms refer to * magu' which means parturition ; ' cipa ' (* keepa ') 
signifies woman or female." In Bakongo, according to Mr. 
Ingham, "se " and '* tata " denote father ; "mama," " mbuta," 
and " ngudi," mother ; " nfumu," elder brother or sister ; 
" mbunzi," younger brother ; and " mbusi," younger sister. 
** Nfumu " means also Sir, chief; "mbuta" means "the one 
who bore," from " buta," or " wuta," to b^et ; and " ngudi," 

* Vdmbdry, * Die primitive Cultur des turko-tatarischen Volkes,' p. 65. 

- Miiller, 'Comparative Mythology,' in 'Oxford Essays,' 1856, pp. 14, 
€t seq, Idem^ ' Biographies of Words,* p. xvi. 

•' Lubbock, loc, cit. p. 433. Cf, Sayce, ' Principles of Comparative 
Philology,' p. 211. 


*' the one we descended from." Again, Mr. Radfield informs 
me that, in the language of Lifu, the term for father means 
root ; the term for mother, foundation or vessel ; the term for 
sister, forbidden or "not to be touched ;" and the terms for eldest 
and younger brother, respectively, ruler and ruled. It is 
possible — I should even say probable — ^that, in these instances 
also, the designations for relationships are the radical words. 
Besides, it should be observed that, in Yahgan, " the terms for 
relatives are strictly reserved for such, neither are they inter- 
changed," and that, in Bakongo, the terms " tata " and " mama " 
are used as signs of respect to any one, whilst the terms 
" mbuta " and " ngudi " seem to be applied exclusively to the 

Not only has Mr. Morgan given no evidence for the truth of 
his assumption that the " classificatory system " is a system 
of blood-ties, but this assumption is not even fully consistent 
with the facts he has himself stated. It is conceivable that 
uncertainty as regards fatherhood might have led a savage to 
call several men his fathers, but an analogous reason could never 
have induced him to name several women his mothers. Hence, 
if a man applies the same term to his mother's sisters as to his 
mother, and he himself is addressed as a son by a woman who 
did not give birth to him, this evidently shows that the nomen- 
clature, at least in certain cases, cannot be explained by the 
nature of descent^ 

There can be scarcely any doubt that the terms for relation- 
ships are, in their origin, terms of address. " The American 
Indians," says Mr. Morgan, " always speak to each other, when 
related, by the term of relationship, and never by the personal 
name of the individual addressed." ^ From a psychological 
point of view, it would, indeed, be surprising if it could be 
shown that primitive men, in addressing all the different 
members of their family or tribe, took into consideration so 
complicated a matter as the degree of consanguinity. Can we 
really believe that a savage whose intelligence, perhaps, was 
so deficient that he was scarcely able to count his own fingers, 
applied the same term to his cousins as to his brothers, because 

^ Cf. McLennan, loc. cit. p. 259 ; Macdonald, * Oceania,' p. 188. 
2 Morgan, ' Systems,' &c., p. 132. 


he was not certain whether, after all, they were not his brothers, 
and that, when he did make a distinction between them, 
he did so because they were begotten by different fathers ? 
Facts show that savages generally denominate their kindred 
according to much simpler principles, the names being given 
chiefly with reference to sex and age, as also to the external, 
or social, relationship in which the speaker stands to the 
person whom he addresses. 

In every language there are different designations for persons 
of different sexes. In the rudest system of nomenclature, the 
Hawaiian, father and other kinsmen of the same generation 
are called " makua kana ; " mother, mother's sisters, father's 
sisters, &c., " makua waheena : " " kana " and " waheena " being 
the terms for male and female. A son is called '' kaikee kana/^ 
a daughter '' kaikee waheena ;" whilst *' kana" alone is applied 
to husband, husband's brother, and sister's husband, and 
" waheena " to wife, wife's sister, brother's wife, &c. 

There are also separate terms in every language for relations 
belonging to different generations. Among the lower races 
especially, age, or, more exactly, the age of the person spoken 
to compared with that of the speaker, plays a very important 
part in the matter of denomination. According to Dr. Davy, 
the Veddahs appear to be without names ; " a Veddah interro- 
gated on the subject, said, * I am called a man : when 
young, I was called the little man : and when old, I shall be 
called the old man.' " ^ The Hawaiians, as we are informed by 
Judge Andrews, have no definite general word for brother in 
common use. But " kaikuadna " signifies any one of my 
brothers, or male cousins, older than myself, I being a male, 
and any one of my sisters, or female cousins, older than myself, 
I being a female ; whilst " kaikaina " signifies a younger brother 
of a brother, ora younger sister of a sister.^ Such distinguishing 
epithets applied to older and younger are, in fact, very fre- 
quently met with among uncivilized peoples. Thus, touching 
the Andamanese, Mr. Man states that " brothers and sisters 
speak of one another by titles that indicate relative age ; that 
is, their words for brother and sister involve the distinction of 

^ Davy, * Account of the Interior of Ceylon,* p. 117. 
* Morgan, * Systems,' &c., p. 453, note. 


elder or younger." A like system is adopted by them in 
respect to half-brothers, half-sisters, cousins, brothers-in-law, 
and sisters-in-law.^ In certain languages, too, there are special 
terms for an uncle on the father's side older than the father, 
and for an uncle younger than he ; ^ and in the Fulfiilde tongue, 
the age of the uncles is so minutely specified, that the first, 
second, third, fourth, and fifth uncle, on both the father's and 
the mother's side, are each called by a particular name.^ 

The wider meaning in which many terms for kinship are 
used bear witness in the same direction. The Rev. J. Sibree 
states that, in Hova, " ray," father, does not take the sense the 
corresponding word in many Semitic languages has, of " maker" 
of a thing, but it is used in a wide sense as an elder or super- 
ior ; and " rdny," mother, is also used in a wide sense as a 
respectful way of addressing an elderly woman.* Mr. Swann 
writes to me that, among the Waguha, West Tanganyika, men 
advanced in years are termed " baba," father, whilst, in other 
parts of Equatorial Africa, according to Mr. Reade, old men are 
addressed as " rera," father, and old women as "ng^e," mother.^ 
The Russian " batushka " and " matushka," as also the Swedish 
" far " and " mor," are often used in a similar way. Again,. 
Mr. Cousins asserts that, among the natives of Cis-Natalian 
Kafirland, the terms for father, mother, brother, and sister, 
are not restricted to them only, but are applied equally to 
other persons of a similar age, whether related or otherwise. 
" *Bawo,* father," he says, " means elder or older, *bawo-kulu ' 
means a big-father, one older than father." Probably " bawo," 
as belonging to the type " pa," was originally used as a term 
of address, from which the sense of elder or older was derived ; 
but this does not interfere with the matter in question. The 
Rev. E. Casalis, writing of the Basutos, states that " in ad- 
dressing a person older than one's self, one says, * My father, 
my mother ; ' to an equal, * My brother ; ' and to inferiors, * My 
children.' " « The Finnish " isa " and the Votyak " ai," father, 

* Man, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,* vol. xii. p. 127. 

2 Barlh, * Central-afrikanische Vocabularien,' p. 216. Vdmb^ry, * Die 
primitive Cultur,' &c., p. 69. ^ Barth, p. 216. 

* Sibree, loc. at. pp. 244, et seq. ''* Reade, loc, cit p. 248. 
« Casalis, * The Basutos,' p. 207. 


the Lappish " aja/' and the Esthonian " ai," grandfather, are 
evidently related to, and probably the roots of, the Finnish 
"iso" and "aija," which mean big.^ The Chukchi use, 
besides " atta " for father and " mdmang " for mother, " empy- 
ndtchyo " and *' ^mpyngau " respectively, which obviously 
have the same root as " ^mpytchin," elder or older.* The 
Brazilian Uainumd call a father " paii," but also ** pechyry," 
z>., old.'* " Les jeunes Australiens," says Bishop Salvado, 
" ont coutume d'appeler *mama' ou ' maman ' (c*est-ii-dire pere) 
tous les vieillards, comme aussi * N-angan ' (ou m^re) les femmes 
avanctes en ige/' * According to Nicolaus Damascenus, the 
Galactophagi denominated " all old men fathers ; young men, 
sons ; and those of equal age, brothers." * In German, the 
parents are " die Eltern," the older {" die Aelteren "), and they 
are also called familiarly " die Alten ; " the father, " der Alte ; '* 
and the mother, " die Alte " or " Altsche." * Again, among 
the North American Indians, old people are very commonly 
named grandfathers and grandmothers ; ^ whilst the Finnish 
"amma" does not signify grandmother only, but old woman 
in general.® Among the Tsuishikari Ainos, the maternal 
grandfather and grandmother of a child are called both by 
hinty and hisfather^ "henki " and ** unarabe" respectively.® 

As to the collateral line, it should be observed that, in 
d)agatai, an elder sister is called " egedi," which actually means 
old woman (" ege," old, big ; " eci," woman, sister).^® In 
Hungarian, where " batya" stands for elder brother, an uncle 
is " nagybdtya," /. e.y a big elder brother.^^ Among many Ural- 
Altaic peoples, the same term is applied to an elder brother as 

' Ahlqvist, loc, cit, p. 209. 

-^ Lubbock, loc» cit. p. 431. Nordqvist, ' Tschuktschisk ordlista,* in 
Nordenskiold, ' Vega-expeditionens vetenskapliga iakttagelser,' vol. i. 

PP- 390. 386. 

' V. Martius, loc. cit, vol. ii. pp. 247, et seg. 

* Salvado, * M^moires,' p. 277. Idem^ * Voyage,' p. 185. 

^ Nicolaus Damascenus, loc, cit.% 3. 

^ Deecke, * Die deutschen Verwandtschaftsnamen,' p. 79. 

" Waltz, loc, cit. vol. iii. p. 116. ® Ahlqvist, p. 209. 

^ Dixon, * The Tsuishikari Ainos,' in * Trans. As. Soc. Japan,* vol. xi. 
pt. i. p. 43- 

'" Vdmbdry, * Die primitive Cultur,' &c., p. 65. " Ahlqvist, p. 212. 


to an uncle, to an elder sister as to an aunt^ Were we to 
follow Mr. Morgan's way of reasoning, we should, from this 
nomenclature, come to very curious conclusions as to the early 
marriage customs of the peoples in question. 

Again, in the Galibi language of Brazil, " tigami " signifies 
young brother, son, and little child indiscriminately ; ^ and 
several languages have no other words for son and daughter 
than those for lad and girl.^ Thus, in Hawaiian, a son is 
called male child, or, more properly, little male ; and a daughter, 
female child or girl.* Mr. George Bridgman states that, 
among the Mackay blacks of Queensland, the word for daughter 
is used by a man for any young woman belonging to the 
class which his daughter would belong to if he had one.* And, 
speaking of the South Australians, Eyre says, " In their inter- 
course with each other, natives of different tribes are exceed- 
ingly punctilious and polite ; . . . almost every thing that is 
said is prefaced by the appellation of father, son, brother, 
mother, sister, or some other similar term, corresponding to 
that degree of relationship which would have been most in 
accordance with their relative ages and circumstances.*' ® 

All those names refer, as previously mentioned, not to the 
absolute, but to the relative, age of the person addressed. 
Often, too, there is a certain relativity in the use of words 
denominating sex. Mn Dall remarks, for instance, that, among 
the Eskimo, the form of the terms of relationship " appears to 
depend in some cases more on the sex of the speaker than on 
that of the person to whom the term refers." In Eastern 
Central Africa, " if a man have a brother and a sister, he is 
called one thing by the brother, but quite a different thing by 
the sister. " ^ And several other instances of the same kind 
are to be found in Mr. Morgan's tables. 

As for the third factor influencing the terms of address — i, e,i 
the social relationship which exists between the addresser and 

1 Ahlqvist, loc. ciL p. 211. * von den Steinen, loc, cit. p. 341. 

3 Ahlqvist, p. 210. von der Gabelentz, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 172. 

* Morgan, * Systems,' p. 452, note. Cf. the German * Junge.' 

* Brough Smyth, loc, cii. vol. i. pp. 91, et seq, 

® Eyre, * Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia,' 
vol. ii. p. 214. ^ Macdonald, ' Africana,' vol. i. p. 143. 


the one addressed, — it is obvious that different designations are 
applied to enemies and friends, to strangers and members of 
the family-circle, nay, generally, to persons to whom one stands 
in an altogether different external relationship. The import- 
ance of this factor is evident from several statements. Thus, 
among the Hovas, according to Mr. Sibree, the words for 
brother and sister " are also used widely for any person whom 
one meets and desires to act towards in a friendly manner.** ^ 
The Fuegians, says Mr. Bridges, form certain kinds of friend- 
ships, and " speak of aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, 
nieces and nephews, &c., which are only so through the 
friendships established.*' ^ Among the Waguha, strangers are 
called " ndugu," brother, if of the same tribe ; ^ and Mr. Harts- 
horne tells us that the Veddahs applied to him the term " hura," 
or cousin.* We can understand, then, why the same name, 
as a rule, is used by the savage to denote just the persons of 
the same sex arid of like age who belong to his own family- 
circle ; and why, as a consequence, the nomenclature is rich or 
poor according as that circle is small or large. The Yahgans, 
for instance, who live in families rather than in tribes, have a 
very definite list of terms for kinsfolk. They have different 
appellations for nephews and nieces on the brother's side, and 
nephews and nieces on the sister's side, and their words for 
uncle and aunt differ according as this relationship is paternal 
or maternal. They have also special terms for father-, mother-, 
son- and daughter-, brother- and sistef-in-law.^ On the other 
hand, the larger the body of kinsfolk that keep closely together, 
and the less it is differentiated, as regards the functions of its 
various members, the more comprehensive are generally the 

^ Sibree, loc, cit, p. 247. 

2 Bridges, in 'A Voice for South America,' vol. xiii. p. 212. 

^ Mr. A. J. Swann, in a letter dated Kavala Island, Lake Tanganyika, 
December 14th, 1888. 

^ Hartshome, in ' The Indian Antiquary,' vol. viii. p. 320. According 
to M. Le Mesurier (' The Veddds of Ceylon,' in * Jour. Roy. As. Soc. 
Ceylon Branch,' vol. ix. p. 347), the Rock or Hill Veddahs use the word 
for brother, ^ aluwa,' when they speak of or to any person with whom they 
are in friendship. 

* Mr. Bridges, in a letter dated Downeast, Tierra *del Fuego, August 
28th, 1888. 


terms of address. The " classificatory system of relationship " 
must, therefore, have emerged at a time when the separate 
families had already united in larger bodies. 

The same principle explains how it happens that a maternal 
uncle is almost always distinguished from a father by a separate 
term, whilst this is not the case with an uncle on the father's 
side, the former generally living in another community from 
his nephew, and, besides, very frequently standing to him in a 
quite peculiar relationship through the rules of succession. It 
may be fairly assumed, too, that a mother's sister much oftener 
than a father's sister is called a mother, because sisters, among 
savages, keep, as a rule, far more closely together, when married, 
than brothers and sisters ; sometimes even, especially among the 
North American Indians, they are the wives of the same man. 
If we add to this that a father's brother's son and a mother's 
sister's son are more commonly addressed as brothers than a 
father's sister's son and a mother's brother's son, it becomes 
obvious to how great an extent the nomenclature is influenced 
by external relations. But as a certain kind of external rela- 
tionship is invariably connected with a certain degree, or certain 
degrees, of blood-relationship, the designations given with 
reference to the former have been taken as terms for the 

The basis on which Mr. Morgan has built his hypothesis 
must be considered, then, altogether untenable.^ It cannot 
be proved that, where the "classificatory system" prevails, 
the nomenclature was intended to express the degree of con- 

> In dealing with the pretended group-marriages of the Australians, we 
have noted the distortion of facts to which Mr. Morgan's hypothesis has 
given rise. Nowhere has this distortion appeared in an odder way than 
in Professor Bemhoft's pamphlet, entitled * Verwandtschaftsnamen und 
Eheformen der nordamerikanischen Volksstamme.' The author, misled 
by the systems of nomenclature, asserts that even now group-marriages 
are extremely common (have *eine ungeheure Verbreitung *) not only 
among the Australians, but also throughout America and Africa, and in 
many parts of Asia (pp. 8, 16). In a paper of more recent date (^ Altin- 
dische Familien- Organisation,' in * Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. ix. p. 7), 
however. Professor Bemh5ft admits that the actual practice has mostly 
become different from that which the terms indicate, and that the pro- 
gress to individual marriage has already often taken place. 


sanguinity so exactly as he assumes, or that it had originally 
anything whatever to do with descent. On the contrary, I 
have endeavoured to show that the case was probably just the 
reverse ; so that no inference r^arding early marriage customs 
is to be drawn from the terms for relationships. Even now, 
in Spanish, a brother's great-grandson is called grandson ; 
in Bulgarian, as also in Russian, a father^s father's brother is 
termed a grandfather, and a father's father's sister a grand- 
mother ; the Greek ''avey^io^ " appears to have been applied to 
a nephew, a grandson, and a cousin ; ^ neef," in Dutch, still 
expresses these three relationships indiscriminately ; in Flemish 
and Piatt Deutsch, '^nichte" is applied to a female cousin as 
well as to a niece ; and Shakspeare, in his will, describes his 
granddaughter, Susannah Hall, as "my niece." ^ Surely, 
nobody would look upon these designations as relics of ancient 
times, when there really might have been some uncertainty as 
to kinship in the direction which the terms indicate. Mr. 
Morgan himself admits that, in Latin, " nepos " did not origin- 
ally sigfnify " either a nephew, grandson, or cousin, but that 
it was used promiscuously to designate a class of persons next 
without the primary relationships." - 

Thirty years ago, in a work of prodigious learning,* the 
Swiss jurist, Dr. Bachofen, drew attention to the remarkable 
fact that a system of " kinship through mothers only " pre- 
vailed among several ancient peoples. Moreover, partly 
from actual statements of old writers, partly from traditions 
and myths, he came to the conclusion that such a system 
everywhere preceded the rise of " kinship through males." A 
few years later, though quite independently of him, Mr. 
McLennan set forth exactly the same hypothesis, being led 
to it chiefly by extensive studies in modern ethnology. 
While, however, Bachofen explained the phenomenon as a 
consequence of the supremacy of women, Mr. McLennan 
regarded it as due to the uncertain paternity which resulted 
from early promiscuity. " It is inconceivable," he says, " that 
anything but the want of certainty on that point could 

* Lubbock, Ioc» cit pp. 196, ei seg. Morgan, * Systems,' p. 35, note. 

* Morgan, ' Systems,' p. 36, note. ^ ' Das Mutterrecht' 


have long prevented the acknowledgment of kinship through 
males ; and in such cases we shall be able to conclude that 
such certainty has formerly been wanting — that more or less 
promiscuous intercourse between the sexes has formerly 
prevailed. The connection between these two things — un- 
certain paternity and kinship through females only, seems 
so necessary — that of cause and effect — that we may con- 
fidently infer the one where we find the other." ^ 

It must be observed that the facts adduced as examples of 
what Mr. McLennan calls " kinship through females only " in 
most instances imply, chiefly, that children are named after 
their mothers, not after their fathers, and that property and 
rank succeed exclusively in the female line. If these customs 
were to be explained as relics of ancient promiscuity, we 
certainly should have to admit that such a state was formerly 
very prevalent in the human race. Yet we could not be sure 
that it prevailed universally. For, though the number of 
peoples among whom descent and inheritance follow the 
mother's side only, is very considerable,^ the number of those 
among whom the male line is recognized, is scarcely less — 
even apart from the civilized nations of Europe and Asia. 
At present, when anthropologists affirm with so much assur- 
ance that a system of exclusive " kinship through females " 
prevailed everywhere before the tie of blood between father 
and child had found a place in systems of relationships, it 
seems appropriate to give a list of peoples among whom such 

^ McLennan, loc, ciU p. 88. 

' See, besides the works of Bachofen and McLennan, Lubbock, loc» ciL 
pp. 151 — 156 ; Giraud-Teulon, loc, cit, ch. vii. — x. ; Identy * La M^re chez 
certains peuples de I'antiquitd ;' Bastian, ' Rechtsverhaltnisse,' pp. 183, 
et seq,\ Lippert, 'Die Geschichte der Familie,' sec. i. ; I dent y * Kultur- 
geschichte,' vol. ii. ch. ii.; Dargun, ' Mutterrecht und Raubehe,' pp. 2 — 9 ; 
Post, 'Geschlechtsgenossenschaft,' pp. 93, etseq,; Idem, * Der Ur sprung des 
Rechts,' pp. 37, et seq,\ IdetKy 'Bausteine,' voL i. pp. 'Jiy et seq.; Starcke, 

* The Primitive Family,' sec. i. ch. i. — v.; Wilken, in * De Indische Gids,' 
188 1, vol ii. pp. 244 — 254 ; Friedrichs, ' Ueber den Ursprung des Matri- 
archats,' in 'Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. viii. pp. 382, et seq,\ Frazer, 

* Totemism,' pp. 70 — 72 ; Letoumeau, * L'dvolution du manage et de la 
famille,' ch. xvi.— xviii.; Wake, 'The Development of Marriage and 
Kinship,' ch. viii., et seq. 



a system does not prevail — a list, however, which cannot 
pretend to completeness. 

Starting, then, with North America, which is acknowledged 
to be, or to have been, one of the chief centres of "mother- 
right," or metrocracy, we meet there with many aboriginal 
nations among whom a son, as a rule, takes the father s name 
and becomes his heir. Thus Cranz states that, among the 
Eskimo of Greenland, " when a husband dies, his eldest son 
inherits his house, tent, and woman's boat, and besides must 
maintain the mother and children, who share the furniture 
and clothes amongst themselves."^ Among the Indians 
bordering on the south-east coast of the river St. Lawrence, 
according to Heriot, the eldest son took the name of his 
father with the addition of one syllable.* The Califomian 
tribes ' and the Dacotahs * recognized chieftainship as heredi- 
tary in the male line ; and, with reference to the latter, Mr. 
Prescott remarks that they cannot well forget relationships, 
as the names of father and mother are both recollected for 
three or four generations.* Among the Ahts, the eldest son 
takes all the property left by his father, and the head-chief's 
rank is hereditary in the male line.* The paternal system 
prevails, moreover, in thirteen other tribes mentioned by Mr. 
Frazer in his essay on * Totemism.*' 

In Mexico, Yucatan, San Salvador, Honduras, and Nica- 
ragua, succession ran from father to son ; and in Vera Paz, 
according to Las Casas, kinship was so exclusively recognized 
in the male line, that the people there thought the 
most remote kin in their own lineage to be more closely 
related than the daughter of their mother, provided she was 
not of the same father. On the other hand, Piedrahita tells 
us that, among the Chibchas, the sons of sisters, and, in 
default of such, the brothers of the king, were the heirs to the 
crown of Bogota, but that the sons had a right to the personal 
property of their father ; whilst, according to Herrera, the 

^ Cranz, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 176. 

* Heriot, loc, cit. pp. 343, et seq, 

^ Powers, loc, cit. p. 371 (Yokuts). Waltz, loc, cit vol. iv. p» 242. 

* Schoolcraft, loc. cit, vol. ii. pp. 182, 194. ^ Ibid,^ vol. iiL p. 234 
" Sproat, loc. cit, pp. 98, 116. ^ Frazer, loc> cit. p. 71. 


property was inherited by the brothers, and, if there were none 
living, by the sons of those who were dead.^ 

Among the Caribs, kinship was reckoned in the female line, 
but the authority of the chiefs was hereditary in the male line 
only, the children of sisters being excluded from the succes- 
sion.* Among the" Macas Indians in Ecuador, property 
descends from father to son;* among the Guaycur(is, Abi- 
pones, and Araucanians, nobility, or chieftainship, was heredi- 
tary in the male line ; * and the Brazilian aborigines, or at 
least some of them, laid particular stress upon kinship through 
fathers.^ Again, with reference to the Yahgans of Tierra del 
Fuego, Mr. Bridges writes, " A child belongs equally to the 
clan of its father and mother as regards duty of revenge, but 
is always reckoned a member of the father's clan only. 
Children are generally named after their grandparents, 
paternal or maternal indifferently. They are quite as much 
attached to their mother's relatives and these to them, as to 
their paternal relatives ; the only difference is that they are 
integral parts of the father's clan, not of the mother's." 
Speaking of the same people, M. Hyades remarks, " L'h^ritage 
se transmet a T^poux survivant, ou i d6faut, au fils ain6." ® 
In short, the paternal system, so far as we know, predominates 
among the aborigines of South America. 

Passing to the Pacific Islands, we find that, though rank 
and clan are commonly inherited there through the mother, 
property generally goes in the male line. In Tonga, the son 
succeeds his father in homage and title,^ and here, as well as 
in Fiji, on the father's death, his possessions descend to his 
children.® Ellis tells us that, in Tahiti, the child of a chief 

' Spencer, * Descriptive Sociology,' Ancient Mexicans, &c., pp. 5, 
ei seq. 

• V. Humboldt, * Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New 
Continent,' vol. vi. p. 41. Waitz, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 383. 

' Buckley, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. iii. p. 31. 

* Waitz, voL iii. pp. 471, et seq. Spencer, * Descriptive Sociology,' 
American Races, p. 10. 

* v. Martius, ioc, cit. voL i. pp. 352, et seq, Wallace, ' Travels on the 
Amazon,' p. 499. 

• Hyades, in * Bull. Soc. d* Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. x. p. 334. 

"^ Cook, Ioc, cit. vol. i. p. 412. ^ Morgan, 'Systems,' &c., pp, 579, 583. 

H 2 


was invested, soon after its birth, with the name and office of 
its father,^ and in the case of there being no children, the 
brother of the deceased assumed the government In other 
families property always went to the eldest son.^ Among 
the Hawaiians, the rank of the principal and inferior chiefs, 
the offices of the priests, as also other situations of honour 
and influence, descended from father to son,* although, on 
the whole, the female line predominated.* In the Hervey 
Islands, children belonged either to the father's or mother's 
clan, according to arrangement ; usually, however, the father 
had the preference.* In New Caledonia, kinship is reckoned 
in the male line,^ and in Lifu, as Mr. Radfield informs me, 
children belong to the paternal clan. In the Caroline Group, 
landed property succeeds mostly from father to son, children 
are named after their father's father or mother's father, and, 
apparently, the rank of the father influences that of the son, 
at least if he be a chief.^ Among the Rejangs ® and Bataks ® of 
Sumatra, as also in several other islands belonging to the 
Indian Archipelago,^® and in New Guinea,^^ the male line 
prevails. In the Kingsmill Islands, "if a chief has 
several children by different wives, the son of the mother of 
the highest rank is the successor." " And, in New Zealand, 
nobility was inherited both in the male and female line ; but 

* Ellis, ioc, cit, vol. i. p. 260. 

* Cook, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 172. 

' Ellis, * Tour through Hawaii,' pp. 391, et seg, 

* Kotzebue, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 247. Waitz-Gcrland, loc, cit, vol. vi. 
p. 203. 

* Gill, ' Myths and Songs from the South Pacific,' p. 36. 

* Moncelon, in * Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,* ser. iii. vol. ix. p. 366. 

7 Kotzebue, loc, cit, vol. iii. pp. 209, et seq. Cheyne, ' Islands in the 
Western Pacific Ocean,' p. 109. Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. v. pt ii. 
p. 119. 

® Marsden, loc, cit, p. 244. 

* Hickson, ' A Naturalist in North Celebes,' pp. 285, et seq, Wilken, 
' Over de verwantschap, etc., bij de volken van het maleische ras,' p. 21. 

»o Wilken, p. 21. 

" Kohler, * Das Recht der Papuas auf Neu-Guinea,' in * Zeitschr. f. vg!. 
Rechtswiss.,' vol vii. pp. 373, 375. Bink, in * Bull Soc. d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. 
vol. xi. p, 395. , 

" Wilkes, loc, cit, vol. v. p. 85. 



on the death of a man, his eldest son took the family name 
which his father had held before him.^ 

Australian children are generally named after their mother's 
clan ; but this is not the case in every tribe.* Among the 
Gournditch-mara, Turra, Moncalon, Tomdirrup, and some 
other tribes, the male line prevails.* With reference to the 
Narrinyeri, the Rev. G. Taplin states that a man's children 
belong to his tribe (/.^., clan), and not to their mother's ; that 
property descends from father to son, and that, in case of a 
man dying without issue of his own, his possessions are always 
transmitted to the brother's children.* Again, in the Dieyerie 
tribe of South Australia, the sons take the father's clan, the 
daughters the mother's.** Even where children are named 
after their mother, inheritance may go from father to son. 
Thus, among the West Australians, the hunting ground or 
landed property descends in the male line, though " children 
of either sex always take the family name of their mother." • 

Among the Todas, all children belong to the father's 
family, and inheritance runs through males only.^ The same 
is the case with most of the Indian Hill Tribes : either all the 
sons dividing their father's property equally, as among the 
Gonds, Bodo, and Dhimdls ; or the eldest son getting the 
largest share, as among the Kandhs, Karens, and Nagas ; or 
the youngest born male being the only heir, as among the 
Hos ; or the favourite son succeeding without reference to 
age, as among the Mishmis.* Among the Pahdrias, too, sons 
inherit, and nephews by sisters get no share.® The law of 

* Taylor, 'Te Ika a Maui,* p. 326. Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit vol. vi. 
p. 210. 

* According to Mr. Frazer {ioc, cit. p. 70), the proportion of tribes with 
female to those with male descent is as four to one. 

* Fison and Howitt, loc, cit, pp. 276, 285. Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. 
p. 777. Eyre, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 328. Frazer, p. 70. 

* Taplin, 'The Narrinyeri,' in Woods, 'The Native Tribes of South 
Australia,' pp. 12, 51. 

* Gason, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xvii. p. 186. 

* Grey, 'Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-West and 
Western Australia,' vol. ii. pp. 236, 226. 

' Marshal], ' A Phrenologist amongst the Todas,' p. 206. 

* Spencer, ' Descriptive Sociology,' Asiatic Races, pp. 10, et seq. 
^ Dalton, he, cit. p. 274. 


succession among the Singphos gives to the eldest son all the 
landed property of the father, to the youngest all his personal 
property, while the rest inherit nothing.* Among the 
Santals, children belong to the father's clan ; ^ and the same 
is the case with the offspring of intermarriages of 
Lepchas and Limbus and Butias.' Touching the 
Karens, Dr. A. Bunker writes to me, "A child takes a 
name of its own, and of neither of the parents ; but usually 
the father, being the stronger, takes the child in case of 
separation. It is regarded as belonging to both parents, so 
far as blood goes." If we add to this that the male line pre- 
vails in Arabia,* Tibet,* throughout Russian Asia,* and among 
the Ainos,^ it must be admitted that the system of " kinship 
through females only" is of very rare occurrence in Asia, 
being restricted, so far as I know, to a few parts of India, 
Ceylon, and the Malay Archipelago.® 

It is much more prevalent among the African races. Yet| 
even among them, there are many instances where succession 
runs in the male line. A king or chief of the Somals ® and 
Ba-kwileh *^ is succeeded by his son. Among the Fulah,this 
dignity is transmitted to the brother, while, in other instances, 
succession goes from father to son.^ Among the Negroes of 
the Gold Coast, according to Bosman, the eldest son succeeded 
his father in office, though kinship was reckoned through the 
mother all along this coast, except at Accra.^ Dr. A. Sims 

^ Rowney, loc, ciL p. 167. 

' Hunter, * The Annals of Rural Bengal,* vol. i. p. 202. 

^ Spencer, * Descriptive Sociology,* Asiatic Races, p. 11. 

* Burckhardt, ' Notes on the Bedouins and Wahdbys,' p. 75. Wilken's 
(' Das Matriarchat bei den alten Arabem ') and Professor Robertson 
Smith's {Joe, cit. p. 15 1) suggestion that the maternal system alone prevailed 
among the ancient Arabs, must be regarded as a mere hypothesis. Cf. 
Redhouse, ' Notes on Prof. E. B. Tylor's " Arabian Matriarchate." ' 

* Wake, loc, cit, p. 271. * QC Dargun, loc, cit, p. 5. 
' Batchelor, in * Trans. As. Soc. Japan,' vol. x. p. 212. 

® Emerson Tennent, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 458. Dalton, loc, cit, pp. 54, 57, 63 
(Jyntias, Khasias, Garos). Dargun, p. 5, note. 

^ Waitz, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 522. Cf, Burton, * First Footsteps in East 
Africa,' p. 123. 

'® * Ymer,' vol. v. p. 169. " Waitz, vol. ii. p. 469. 

^* Bosman, loc, cit, p. 421. 


writes that, among the Bateke, "the child is considered as 
belonging to the father and mother equally," and takes the 
grandfather's or grandmother's name. Among the Waguha, 
according to Mr. Swann, children are generally named after 
the father. In Ldnda, the eldest son inherits all his father's 
possessions, wives included.^ Among the Damaras, whose 
divisions into clans are derived from the mother, 
the eldest son of the chief wife, nevertheless, is the successor 
of his father ;2 and the same rule prevails among the Bechu- 
anas.' The Rev. A. Eyles states that all Zulu children 
belong to the father s tribe, and are called by his name or 
by the name of some of his ancestors. According to Mr. 
Cousins,* this is essentially true of various Kafir tribes, the 
first son, however, never being named after the grandfather, 
but always after the father. Warner, Brownlee, and E. v. 
Weber assert also that, among this people, inheritance passes 
from father to son.® Le Vaillant and Kolben state the same 
with reference to the Hottentots and Bushmans ; ^ and An- 
dersson affirms that, among the Namaquas, daughters take 
the father's name, sons the mother's.® Finally, in the part of 
Madagascar where Drury was, kinship does not seem to 
have been, in every case, reckoned through the female, 
though in that island children generally follow the con- 
dition of the mother.® 

As for ancient peoples, Bachofen has adduced from the 

' * £min Pasha in Central Africa,' p. 230. 

* Andersson, ' Lake Ngami,' p. 228. Chapman, * Travels in the Interior 
of South Africa,' vol. i. p. 341. 

* Conder, ' The Native Tribes in Bechuana-Land,' in ' Jour. Anthr. 
Inst/ vol. xvi. p. 85. Livingstone, loc, cit p. 185. 

^ In a letter dated Imbizane River, Natal, October loth, 1888. 

* In a letter dated Port Elizabeth, Cape Colony, October ist, 1888. 

* Maclean, * Compendium of Kafir Laws and 'Customs,' pp. 71, 116. 
V. Weber, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 220. Cf. Waitz, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 391 ; Fritsch, 
loc. cit, p. 92. 

' Starcke, loc, cit. p. 75. Spencer, * Descriptive Sociology,' African 
Races, p. 7. 

® Andersson, p. 333. 

* Spencer, 'Descriptive Sociology,' Types of Lowest Races, &c., p. 10. 
For other instances of male descent in Africa, see Post, ' Afrikanische 
JurisprudenZj'vol. i. pp. 26 — 28. 


works of classical writers evidence for the uterine. line having 
prevailed among several of them. But, to quote Sir Henry 
Maine, " the greatest races of mankind, when they first appear 
to us, show themselves at or near a stage of development in 
which relationship or kinship is reckoned exclusively through 
males." ^ Several writers have, it is true, endeavoured to prove 
that, among the primitive Aryans, descent was traced through 
females only ; * but the evidence does not seem to be con- 
clusive. Much importance has been attributed to the specially 
close connection which, according to Tacitus, existed 
between a sister's children and their mother's brothers ; ' but 
Dr. Schrader observes that, in spite of this prominent position 
of the maternal uncle in the ancient Teutonic family, the 
patruus distinctly came before the avunculus^ the agnates 
before the cognates, in testamentary succession. He also 
suggests that, when the head of a household died, the women 
of his family passed under the guardianship of the eldest 
son, and that a woman's children had therefore, quite natur- 
ally, a peculiarly intimate relation to their maternal uncle.* 
It is safe to say with Professor Max Miiller, that we can 
neither assert nor deny that in unknown times the Aryans 
ever passed through a metrocratic stage.*^ 

Even if it could be proved — which is doubtful — that, in 
former times, a system of" kinship through females only," fully 
developed, prevailed among all the peoples whose children take 
the mother's name and are considered to belong to her clan, 
though succession runs in the male line, we should still have to 
account for the fact that a large number of peoples exhibit no 
traces of such a system. And to them belong many of the 
rudest races of the world — such as the aborigines of Brazil, the 
Fuegians, Hottentots, Bushmans, and several very low tribes in 

^ Maine, ' Dissertations on Early Law and Custom/ p. 149. 

* Bachofen, ' Das Mutterrecht.' Idem^ * Antiquarische Bricfc.' 
McLennan, loc, dt pp. 118 — 120, 195 — 246 ('Kinship in Ancient 
Greece *). Idem^ * The Patriarchal Theory.' Giraud-Teulon, * Les 
origines du manage et de la famille,' ch. xiv., xvi. 

' Tacitus, ' Germania,' ch. xx. : ' Sororum filiis idem apud avunculum, 
qui ad patrem honor.' 

* Schrader, * Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan Peoples,* p. 395. 

* Miiller, * Biographies of Words,' p. xvii. 


Australia and India. The inference that "kinship through 
females only " has everywhere preceded the rise of " kinship 
through males/' would, then, be warranted only on condition 
that the cause, or the causes, to which the maternal system is 
owing, could be proved to have operated universally in the 
past life of mankind. From Mr. McLennan's point of view, 
such an inference would be inadmissible, as he cannot prove 
the former occurrence of a universal stage of promiscuity or 
polyandry, leading to uncertain paternity — the cause to which 
he attributes that system. 

Yet it is far from being so inconceivable as Mr. McLennan 
assumes, that " anything but the want of certainty on that 
point could have long prevented the acknowledgment of kin- 
ship through males." 1 Paternity, as Sir Henry Maine 
remarks, is " matter of inference, as opposed to maternity, 
which is matter of observation." * Hence it is almost 
beyond doubt that the father s participation in parentage was 
not recognized as soon as the mother's.' Now, however, there 
does not seem to be a single people which has not made the 
discovery of fatherhood. In reply to my question whether 
the Fuegians consider a child to descend exclusively or pre- 
dominantly from either of the parents, Mr. Bridges certainly 
writes that, according to his idea, they " consider the maternal 
tie much more important than the paternal, and the duties 
connected with it of mutual help, defence, and vengeance are 
held very sacred." But it is doubtful whether this refers to 
the mere physiological connection between the child and 
its parents. Dr. Sims informs me that, among the Bateke, the 
function of both parents in generation is held alike im- 
portant, and the Waguha of West Tanganyika, as Mr. Swann 
states, also recognize the part taken by both. The same is 
asserted by Archdeacon Hodgson concerning certain other 
tribes of Eastern Central Africa, though, among them, 
children take the name of the mother's tribe. Again, the 
Naudowessies, according to Carver, had the very curious idea 

* Cf, Friedrichs, in 'Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. viii. pp. 371, &c. 

^ Maine, loc, cit, p. 202. 

^ Cf. Lippert, * Die Geschichte der Familie,' pp. 5, 8, 9, &c. 


that their offspring were indebted to the father for their souls, 
the invisible part of their essence, and to the mother for their 
corporeal and visible part ; hence they considered it " more 
rational that they should be distinguished by the name of the 
latter, from whom they indubitably derive their being, than 
by that of the father, to which a doubt might sometimes arise 
whether they are justly intitled." ^ Moreover, it seems as if 
the father's share in parentage, once discovered, was often 
exaggerated. Thus, referring to some tribes of New South 
Wales, Mr. Cameron tells us that, although the father has 
nothing to do with the disposal of his daughter, as she 
belongs to the clan of her mother's brother, they "believe 
that the daughter emanates from her father solely, being only 
nurtured by her mother." * Indeed, Mr. Howitt has found in 
every Australian tribe, without exception, with which he has 
acquaintance, the idea that the child is derived from the male 
parent only. As a black fellow once put it to him, " The man 
gives the child to a woman to take care of for him, and he 
can do whatever he likes with his own child." • Again, Mr. 
Cousins writes that, according to Kafir ideas, a child descends 
chiefly, though not exclusively, from the father; and the 
ancient Greeks, as well as the Egyptians* and Hindus,* 
maintained a similar view. Nay, Euripides states distinctly 
that, in his day, the universally accepted physiological 
doctrine recognized only the share taken by the father in 
procreation, and Hippocrates, in combating this opinion, and 
contending that the child descended from both parents, seems 
to admit that it was a prevalent heresy.^ Finally, it seems 
probable that the custom known under the name of " La 
Couvade " — that is, the odd rule, prevalent among several 
peoples in different parts of the world, requiring that the 
father, at the birth of his child, shall retire to bed for some 

^ Carver, loc. cit. p. 378. 

* Cameron, 'Notes on some Tribes of New South Wales,* in 'Jour. 
Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiv. p. 352. 

^ Howitt, in 'Smithsonian Report,' 1883, p. 813. 

* Wilkinson, ' The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians/ 
voL i. p. 320. * Ribot, * L'h^r^ditd psychologique,' p 362. 

* Maine, loc, cit, p. 203. 


time, and fast or abstain from certain kinds of food — implies 
some idea of relationship between the two.^ 

Admitting, however, that there was a time when father- 
hood, in the physiological sense of the term, was not dis- 
covered, I do not think that the preference given to the 
female line is due to this fact. If the denomination of 
children and the rules of succession really were in the first 
place dependent on ideas of consanguinity, it might be 
expected that a change with reference to the latter would 
be followed by a change in the former respect also. But the 
ties of blood have exercised a far less direct influence on the 
matter in question than is generally supposed, the system of 
" kinship through females only " being, properly speaking, 
quite different from what the words imply. 

There may be several reasons for naming children after 
the mother rather than after the father, apart from any 
consideration of relationship. Especially among savages, 
the tie between a mother and child is much stronger than 
that which binds a child to the father.* Not only has she 
given birth to it, but she has also for years been seen 
carrying it about at her breast. Moreover, in cases of separa- 
tion, occurring frequently at lower stages of civilization, 
the infant children always follow the mother, and so, very 
often, do the children more advanced in years. Is it not 
natural, then, that they should keep the name of the mother 
rather than that of a father whom they scarcely know ? Mr. 
Belt tells us that the men and women even of the christian- 
ized lower classes of Nicaragua often change their mates, and 
the children, in such cases remaining with the mother, take 
their surname from her.* According to Swan, the Creeks 
conferred the honour of a chief on the issue of the female line, 
because it was impossible to trace the right by the male issue, 
women only exceptionally having more than two children by 
the same father.* And touching the Khasias, one of the few 

* C/. Tylor, * Researches into the Early History of Mankind,' pp. 295, 
ef seq,\ Kohler, in 'Kritische Vierteljahrschrift fiir Gesetzgebung und 
Rechtswissenschaft,' N.S. vol. iv. pp. 182, etseq, 

* Cf. Lubbock, loc. cit, pp. 150, et seq. 

' Bdt, ' The Naturalist in Nicaragua,' p. 322. 

* Schoolcraft, ioc. cit vol. v. p. 273. 


tribes in India among whom the female line prevails. Dr. 
Hooker states that they have a very lax idea of marriage, 
divorce and exchange of wives being common and attended 
with no disgrace ; " the son therefore often forgets his father's 
name and person before he grows up, but becomes strongly 
attached to his mother." ^ 

Speaking of certain negro tribes, Winterbottom suggested 
long ago that the prevalence of the female line was to be 
explained by the practice of polygyny,* and Dr. Starcke has 
recently called attention to the same point' The Rev. D. 
Macdonald likewise remarks, in his account of the Efatese 
of the New Hebrides, that the idea that children are more 
closely related to the mother than to the father is an idea 
perfectly natural among a polygynous people.* It is a 
customary arrangement in polygynous families that each wife 
has a hut for herself, where she lives with her children ; but 
even where this is not the case, mother and children natur- 
ally keep together as a little sub-family. No wonder, then, 
if a child takes its name after the mother rather than 
after the father. This is the simplest way of pointing 
out the distinction between the issue of different wives, a 
distinction which is of special importance where it is accom- 
panied by different privileges as to succession. It is worth 
noticing that, among the negroes, who are probably the most 
polygynous race in the world, the female line is extremely 
prevalent ; whereas, among the Hill Tribes of India, who are, 
on the whole, monogamists, children, with few exceptions, 
take the name of the father. With reference to the Basutos, 
a Bechuana tribe, Mr. Casalis observes that the authority of 
the eldest maternal uncle preponderates to excess, especially 
in polygynous families, where the children have no strong 
affection for their father.*^ 

* Hooker, * Himalayan Journals,' voL ii. p. 276. 

' Quoted by Starcke, loc. cit, p. 69, note 4. 

» Ibid,y pp. 27, 28, 35, 36, 40, 41, &c. 

^ Macdonald, ' Oceania,' pp. 184, 192, et seg. It is remarkable, he 
says (p. 187), that while all children, among the Efatese, belonged, by the 
family name, to the mother's family, each child had its own name, and 
any one hearing the name at once knew the father's family thereby. 

^ Casalis, he. cit. p. 181. 


Further, among several peoples a man, on marrying, has to 
quit his home, and go to live with his wife in the house of 
her father, of whose family he becomes a member. This is a 
common practice among several of the North American tribes,^ 
and prevailed, in the southern part of the New World, among 
the Caribs.^ In some parts of Eastern Central Africa, also, 
a man who marries a full grown girl ''immediately leaves his 
own village and proceeds to build a house in the village of 
his wife."* Among the Sengirese, according to Dr. Hickson, 
the man always goes to his wife's house, unless he be the son 
of a rajah, in which case he may do as he pleases.^ Dr. Hooker 
tells us that, among the Khasias, ''the husband does not 
take his wife home, but enters her father's household, and is 
entertained there." * And in Sumatra, in the mode of mar- 
riage called "ambel anak," the father of a virgin makes 
choice of some young man for her husband, who is taken 
into his house to live there in a state between that of a son 
and that of a debtor.^ 

According to Dr. Starcke, this custom is due to the great 
cohesive power of the several families, which causes them to 
refuse to part with any of their members. " Since men are 
more independent," he says, " they are also less stationary ; 
they can no longer attract the women to themselves, and are 
therefore attracted by them."^ Under such circumstances, 
there is nothing astonishing in the fact that children are 
named after the mother's tribe or clan, which is the case in 
all the instances just given of peoples among whom the 
husband has to settle down with his father-in-law. Indeed, 
Dr. Tylor has found that, whilst the number of coincidences 
between peoples among whom the husband lives with the 
wife's family and peoples among whom the maternal system 
prevails, is proportionally large, the full maternal system never 
appears among peoples whose exclusive custom is for the 

^ Moore, ioc. ciU p. 298. Powers, loc. cit^ p. 382. Schoolcraft, ' The 
Indian in his Wigwam,' p. 72. ' Waitz, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 383. 

^ Macdonald, 'Africana,' vol. i. p. 136. Cf, Livingstone, loc, ciL pp. 
622, el seq. 

 Hickson, 'Notes on the Sengfirese,' in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst/ vol. xvi. 
p. 138. * Hooker, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 276. 

® Marsden, loc, cit, p. 262. ' Starcke, loc, cit, p. 80. 


husband to take his wife to his own home.^ And it is a 
remarkable fact that where both customs — the woman re- 
ceiving her husband in her own hut, and the man taking his 
wife to his — occur side by side among the same people, descent 
in the former cases is traced through the mother, in the latter 
through the father.^ In Japan, should there be only daughters 
in the family, a husband is procured for the eldest, who enters 
his wife's family, and, at the same time, takes its name.^ 

Again, as to the rules of succession, Dr. Starcke has set 
forth the hypothesis that they are dependent on local 
connections, those persons being each other's heirs who dwell 
together in one place. Among the Iroquois, for instance, at 
the death of a man, his property is divided among his 
brothers, sisters, and mother's brothers, whilst the property of 
a woman is transmitted to her children and sisters, but not to 
her brothers. "Owing to the faculty of memory" Dr. 
Starcke says, " childhood and youth involve a young man in 
such a web of associations that he afterwards finds it hard to 
detach himself from them. The man who, when married, 
has lived as a stranger in the house of another, clings to the 
impressions of his former home, and his earlier household 
companions become his heirs. But the brother who has 
wandered elsewhere stands in a more remote relation to his 
sister than do the sisters and the children living with her in 
the parental home, and he is therefore excluded from the 
inheritance." * 

Though agreeing, in the main, with Dr. Starcke's hypo- 
thesis, I do not think it affords a complete explanation of the 
matter. It certainly accounts for the fact that, under the 
maternal system, it is just the nearest relatives on the mother's 
side who are a man's heirs, to the exclusion of other members 
of the clan. But, if succession really depended upon local 
relations only, or upon the remembrance of such relations in 

^ Tylor, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. p. 258. 

' Early Arabians (Robertson Smith, loc, cit. pp. 74, et seq,)^ Sumatrans 
(Marsden, loc, cit, p. 225), Sinhalese (McLennan, ' Studies in Ancient 
History,' pp. loi, et seg,), 

^ Kuchler, ' Marriage in Japan,' in * Trans. As. Soc. Japan,' vol. xiii. 
p. 1 1 5. * Starcke, loc, cit. p. 36. 


the past, it would be the most natural arrangement, where 
father and children lived together till the latter were grown 
up, for the father to be succeeded by his son. It seems 
probable that the causes which make children take their 
mother's name, have also directly exercised some influence 
upon the rules of succession ; but I am inclined to believe 
that the power of the name itself has been of the highest 
importance in that respect 

By means of family names former connections are kept 
up, and the past is associated with the present. Even we 
ourselves are generally more disposed to count kin with 
distant relatives having our own surname than with those 
having another. And upon man in a savage state language 
exercise, in this matter, a much greater influence than upon 
us. With reference to the aborigines of Western Australia, 
Sir George Grey observes, " Obligations of family names are 
much stronger than those of blood ; " and a " Saurian," or a 
" Serpent," from the East considers himself related to a 
** Saurian," or a " Serpent," from the West, though no such 
relationship may exist.^ Among the Ossetes, according to 
Baron von Haxthausen, a man is considered more nearly 
related to a cousin a hundred times removed, who bears his 
name, than to his mother's brother ; and he is bound to take 
blood-revenge for the former, while the latter is in fact not 
regarded as a relative at all.^ Speaking of certain Bantu 
tribes, Mr, McCall Theal remarks that their aversion to 
incestuous marriages is so strong, that a man will not marry 
a girl who belongs to another tribe, if she has the same 
family name as himself, although the relationship cannot be 
traced.' Is it not a justifiable presumption that a similar 
association of ideas has influenced the rules of succession 
also, — ^all the more so, where community of name implies 
community of worship as well ? It should be observed that 
in every case — at least so far as I know — where rank and 
property are inherited through females only, children are 
named after the mother, — but not vice versdy thanks to the 

^ Grey, loc. at, vol. ii. pp. 231, 226. Lubbock, loc, cit pp. 136, et seq. 

* V. Haxthausen, * Transcaucasia,' p. 406. 

^ McCall Theal, * History of the Emigrant Boers,' p. 16. 


direct influence of local and other connections. In China, a 
man is even strictly forbidden to nominate as his heir an 
individual. of a different surname.^ 

It is a difficult, sometimes even a hopeless, task to try to 
find out the origin of savage laws and customs, and I do not 
pretend to have given an exhaustive explanation of those in 
question. But it seems to be sufficiently clear, from what 
has been said, that we have no right to ascribe them ta 
uncertain paternity ; nay, that such an assumption is not even 
probably true. No one has yet exhibited any general coin- 
cidence of what we consider moral and immoral habits with 
the prevalence of the male and female line among existing 
savages. Among the Barea, for instance, as among the 
Negroes of Loango, inheritance goes through mothers only, 
though adultery is said to be extremely rare ; * whilst, on the 
other hand, among the wanton natives of Tahiti, possessions 
always descend to the eldest son. With the Todas and 
Tibetans, among whom paternity is often actually uncertain 
on account of their polyandrous marriage customs, succession 
runs through the male line only. " If one or more women," 
Mr. Marshall says with reference to the former, " are in com- 
mon to several men, each husband considers all the children 
as his — though each woman is mother only to her own — and 
each male child is an heir to the property of all of the 
fathers." * Among the Reddies, a son^although it often hap- 
pens that he does not know his real father — is the heir of his 
mother's husband.^ And, in India and Ceylon, female kinship 
is associated with polyandry of the beena type — where the 
husbands come to live with the wife in or near the house of 
her birth ; and male kinship with that of the deega type — where 
the wife goes to live in the house and village of her husband.* 

Lastly, as Mr, Spencer remarks, avowed recognition of 
kinship in the female line only, shows by no means an uncon- 
sciousness of male kinship. As a proof of this may be 

* Medhurst, * Marriage, Affinity, and Inheritance in China,* in ' Trans. 
Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,' vol. iv. p. 29. 

* Munzinger, loc. cit pp. 484, 490. Proyart, loc, cit. p. 571. 
^ Marshall, loc. cit, pp. 206, et seq, 

* Kearas, * The Tribes of South India,* p. 35. 

* Wake, loc, cit. p. 271. 


adduced the converse custom which the early Romans had of 
recognizing no legal relationship between children of the 
same mother and of different fathers. For, if it cannot be 
supposed that an actual unconsciousness of motherhood was 
associated with this system, neither is there any adequate 
ivarrant for the supposition that actual unconsciousness of 
fatherhood was associated with the system of " kinship 
through females only" among savages.^ 
' ^The prevalence of the female line would not presuppose 
general promiscuity even if,» in some cases, it were de- 
pendent on uncertainty as to fathers.* The separation of 
husband and wife, adultery on the woman's side, and the 
practice of lending wives to visitors occurring very fre- 
quently among many savage nations, the proverb which says, 
" It is a wise child that knows its own father," holds true for 
a large number of them. According to Mr. Ingham, the 
Bakongo, who trace their descent through the mother only, 
assert as a reason for this custom uncertain paternity ; but 
nevertheless, as we have already seen, they would be horrified 
at the idea of promiscuous intercourse. 

Having now examined all the groups of social phenomena 
adduced as evidence for the hypothesis of promiscuity, we 
have found that, in point of fact, they are no evidence. 
Not one of the customs alleged as relics of an ancient state 
of indiscriminate cohabitation of the sexes, or '^ communal 
marriage," presupposes the former existence of that state. 
The numerous facts put forward in support of the hypothesis 
do not entitle us to assume that promiscuity has ever been 
the prevailing form of sexual relations among a single people, 
far less that it has constituted a general stage in the social 
development of man, and, least of all, that such a stage 
formed the starting-point of all human history. 

It may seem to the reader that this question has received 
more attention than it deserves. But I have discussed it so 

' Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. p. 637, note. 

• Cf. Bosman, loc. cit, p. 421. Phillips, * The Lower Congo,' in * Jour. 
Anthr. Inst,' vol. xvii. p. 229. Grade, in 'Aus alien Welttheilen,' voL 
XX. p. 5. Powell, * Wanderings in a Wild Country,' p. 60. 



fully not only because of the importance of the subject, but 
because of the insight the customs mentioned give us into 
sexual and family relations very different from our own, and 
because the unscientific character of the conclusions we have 
tested shows most clearly that sociology is still a science in 
its infancy. 

Even now my criticism is not finished. Having shown that 
the hypothesis of promiscuity has no foundation in fact, I 
shall endeavour, in the next chapter, to demonstrate that it is 
opposed to all the correct ideas we are able to form with 
regard to the early condition of man. 




Against the hypothesis of promiscuity Sir Henry Maine 
has urged that a good deal of evidence seems to show that 
promiscuous intercourse between the sexes tends to a patho- 
logical condition very unfavourable to fecundity; and "in- 
fecundity, amid perpetually belligerent savages, implies 
weakness and ultimate destruction."^ 

Dr. Carpenter refers to the efforts of the American 
planters to form the negroes into families, as the promiscuity 
into which they were liable to fall produced infertility, and 
fertility had become important to the slave-owners through 
the prohibition of the slave-trade.* It is also a well-known 
fact that prostitutes very seldom have children, while, accord- 
ing to Dr. Roubaud, those of them who marry young easily 
become mothers.^ " II ne pousse pas d'herbe dans les chemins 
oil tout le monde passe," Dr. Bertillon remarks.* And, in a 
community where all the women equally belonged to all the 
men, the younger and prettier ones would of course be most 
sought after, and take up a position somewhat akin to that 
of the prostitutes of modem society. 

It may perhaps be urged that the practice of polyandry 
prevails among several peoples without any evil results as 
regards fecundity being heard of. But polyandry scarcely 

* Maine, loc, cit pp. 204, et seq, * IbicL^ pp. 204, et seq* note. 
3 Mantegazza, ' Die Hygieine der Liebe,' p. 405. 

* Quoted by Witkowski, ' La g^n^ration humaine/ p. 218 

1 2 


ever implies continued promiscuous intercourse of many 
men with one woman. In Tibet, for example, where the 
brothers of a family very often have a common wife, more 
than one are seldom at home at the same time.^ Mr. Talboys 
Wheeler has even suggested that polyandry arose among a 
pastoral people, whose men were away from their families 
for months at a time, so that the duty of protecting these 
families would naturally be undertaken by the brothers in 
turn.2 Again, among the Kaniagmuts, the second husband was 
only a deputy who acted as husband and master of the house 
during the absence of the true lord f and the same was the 
case in Nukahiva.* But especially remarkable is the follow- 
ing practice connected with polyandry. In the description 
gfiven by Bontier and Le Verrier of the conquest and con- 
version of the Canarians in 1402 by Jean de Berthencourt we 
read that, in the island of Lancerote, most of the women 
have three husbands, " who wait upon them alternately by 
months ; the husband that is to live with the wife the following 
month waits upon her and upon her other husband the whole 
of the month that the latter has her, and so each takes her in 
turn." ^ Mr. Harkness tells us about a Toda who, having 
referred to his betrothal to his wife Pilluvani and the 
subsequent betrothal of the latter to two others, Khak- 
hood and Tumbut, said, "Now, according to our customs, 
Pilluvani was to pass the first month with me, the second with 
Khakhood, and the third with Tumbut."® Among the Kulus, 
in the Himalaya Mountains, when parents sell a daughter 
to several brothers, she belongs during the first month to the 
eldest brother, during the second to the next eldest, and so on f 
whilst, as regards the Nairs, whose women, except those of the 

^ ' Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet,' &c, note to 

p. 74- 

* Wilson, ' The Abode of Snow,' p. 215. 

' Bancroft, loc. cit vol. i. p. 82. Cf, Erman, in ' Zeitschrift fur Eth- 
nologic,' vol. iii. p. 163. 

* Lisiansky, * Voyage round the World,' p. 83. 

* Bontier and Le Verrier, loc, cit. p. 139. 
« Harkness, loc, cit, pp. 122, et seq. 

^ de Ujfalvy, in * BulL Soc d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. voL v. p. 227. 


first quality, may marry twelve husbands if they please* 
Hamilton states that "all the husbands agree very well, for 
they cohabit with her in their turns, according to their priority 
of marriage, ten days, more or less, according as they can fix 
a term among themselves."^ 

The strongest argument against ancient promiscuity is, 
however, to be derived from the psychical nature of man and 
other mammals. Mr. Darwin remarks that from what we 
know of the jealousy of all male quadrupeds, armed, as 
many of them are, with special weapons for battling with 
their rivals, promiscuous intercourse is utterly unlikely to pre- 
vail in a state of nature. " Therefore," he continues, " look- 
ing far enough back in the stream of time, and judging from 
the social habits of man as he now exists, the most probable 
view is that he aboriginally lived in small communities, 
each with a single wife, or if powerful with several, whom he 
jealously guarded against all other men." * Yet, according 
to the same naturalist, it seems certain, from the lines of 
evidence afforded by Mr. Morgan, Mr. McLennan, and Sir J. 
Lubbock, that almost promiscuous intercourse at a later time 
was extremely common throughout the world ; * and a similar 
view is held by some other writers.* But if jealousy can 
be proved to be universally prevalent in the human race at the 
present day, it is impossible to believe that there ever was a 
time when man was devoid of that powerful feeling. Professor 
Giraud-Teulon ^ and Dr. Le Bon ® assert, indeed, that it is 
unknown among almost all uncivilized peoples ; but this 
assertion will be found to be groundless. 

Starting from the very lowest races of men : we are told 
that the Fuegians " are exceedingly jealous of their women, 
and will not allow any one, if they can help it, to enter their 

^ Hamilton, loc, cii. pp. 374, ei seq, 

* Darwin, * The Descent of Man,* vol. ii. p. 395. 
3 IbicLy voL ii. p. 394. 

^ Le Bon, loc, cit, vol. ii. pp. 289, et seq, Kautsky, in ' Kosmos,' voL 
xii. p- 262. 

^ Giraud-Teulon, ^ Les origines de la famille,' p. 79, note. 

* Le Bon, vol. ii. p. 293. 


huts, particularly boys."^ Several writers assert the same as 
regards the Australians.^ Thus, according to Sir George 
Grey, " a stem and vigilant jealousy is commonly felt by every 
married man ; " * and Mr. Curr states that, in most tribes, 
a woman " is not allowed to converse or have any relations 
whatever with any adult male, save her husband. Even with 
a grown-up brother she is almost forbidden to exchange a 
word."* With reference to the Veddahs of Ceylon, Mr. 
•Bailey says that, with the very smallest cause, the men are 
exceedingly jealous of their most unattractive wives, and are 
very careful to keep them apart from their companions. ^ 

According to a Thlinket myth, the jealousy of man is 
older than the world itself. There was an age, it is supposed, 
when men groped in the dark in search of the world. At 
that time a Thlinket lived who had a wife and sister ; and he 
was so jealous of his wife, that he killed all his sister s 
children because they looked at her.® 

Great jealousy is met with among the Atkha Aleuts, 
according to Father Yakof ; among the Kutchin Indians, 
according to Richardson and Hardisty ; among the Haidahs, 
according to Dixon ; among the Tacullies, according to 
Harmon ; among the Crees, according to Richardson.'^ The 
Indians on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains visited 
by Harmon, in their fits of jealousy, "often cut off all the hair 
from the heads of their wives, and, not unfrequently, cut off 
their noses also ; and should they not in the moment of 

* Wilkes, loc. cii, vol. i. p. 125. 

* Breton, * Excursions in New South Wales,' &c, p. 231. Wilkes, 
vol. ii. p. 195. Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit, vol. vi. p. 774. Schiirmann, he, 
cit p. 223. Salvado, ' M^moires,' p. 280. 

* Grey, loc, cit voL ii. p. 252. * Curr, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 109, 100. 
^ Bailey, in ' Trans. Ethn. Soc,' N. S. vol. ii. p. 292. 

^ Holmberg, ^ Ethnographische Skizzen iiber die V51ker des russischen 
Amerika,' in ' Acta Societatis Scientiarum Fennicae,' vol. iv. pp. 332, et siq- 
Dall, loc. cit, p. 421. 

7 Petroff, loc. cit, p. 158. Richardson, /(t?^. cit, vol. i. p. 383. Hardisty, 
'The Loucheux Indians,' in 'Smithsonian Report,' 1866, p. 312. Dixon , 
* Voyage round the World,' pp. 225, etseq, Harmon, * Journal of Voyages 
and Travels,' p. 293. Franklin, * Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea,' 
p. 67. Cf, Waitz, vol. iii. p. 328 ; Heame, loc. cit, p. 310 ; Mackenzie 
loc. cit, p. 147; Hooper, loc, cit, p. 39a 


passion have a knife at hand, they will snap it off at one bite, 
with their teeth. . . . The man is satisfied in thus revenging a 
supposed injury ; and having destroyed the beauty of his 
wife, he concludes that he has secured her against all future 
solicitations to offend."^ In California, if a married native 
woman is seen even walking in the forest with another man 
than her husband, she is chastised by him, whilst a repetition 
of the offence is generally punished with speedy death.^ 
Among the Creeks, "it was formerly reckoned adultery, if 
a man took a pitcher of water off a married woman's head^ 
and drank of it." * The Moquis allow their wives to work 
only indoors, afraid of having rivals.* The Arawaks,^ as also 
the Indians of Peru,* are stated to commit horrible crimes of 
jealousy. The Botocudos, who are known to change wives 
very frequently, are, nevertheless, much addicted to that 
passion J And, regarding the Coroados of Brazil, v. Spix and 
V. M artius say that revenge and jealousy are the only passions 
that can rouse their stunted soul from its moody indifference.^ 
In the Sandwich Islands, according to Lisiansky, jealousy 
was extremely prevalent ; * and, in Nukahiva, the men punish 
their wives with severity upon the least suspicion of in- 
fidelity. ^^ The Areois of Tahiti, too, although given to 
every kind of licentiousness, are described by Ellis as utterly 
jealous. ^^ The same is said of the New Caledonians and New 
Zealanders ; ^^ whilst, in the Pelew Islands, it is forbidden even 
to speak about another man's wife or mention her name. ^ 
In short, the Sou^h Sea Islanders are, as Mr. Macdonald 
remarks, generally jealous of the chastity of their wives. ^* 

^ Harmon, /<7^. ciL p. 343. ' Powers, loc. ciL p. 412. 

* Adair, loc, cit, p. 143. * Waitz, loc. at. voL iv. p. 209. 

* V. Martius, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 693. 

* V. Schiitz-Holzhausen, ' Der Amazonas,' p. 70. 

' V. Martius, vol. i. p. 322. Keane, ' On the Botocudos/ in ' Jour» 
Anthr. Inst|' voL xiii. p. 206. 
^ y. Spix and v. Martius, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 241. 
^ Lisiansky, loc cit. p. 128. ^° /^V/., p. 82. 

^ Ellis, * Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 239. 

^ Moncelon, in * Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. voL ix. p. 368. Waitz- 
GerlandyVoL vi. p. 115. " ' Ymer,' vol. iv. p. 329. 

^^ Macdonald, ' Oceania,' p. 194. 


Among the Malays of Sumatra, the husband jealously 
guards his wife as long as his affection lasts ;^ and, concerning 
several other tribes of the Indian Archipelago, Riedel says 
that the men are very much addicted to the same passion.^ 
Captain Arnesen observed the great jealousy of the Samo- 
yedes.* Dr. A. O. Heikel informs me that a Tartar may 
repudiate his wife if he sees her shaking hands with a man. 
Among the nomadic Koriaks, many wives are killed by pas- 
sionate husbands. Hence their women endeavour to be very 
ugly : they refrain from dressing their hair or washing, and 
walk about ragged, as the husbands take for granted that, if 
they dress themselves, they do so in order to attract admirers.* 

Among the Beni-Mzab, a man who speaks in the street to 
a married woman of quality is punished with a fine of two 
hundred francs and banishment for four years.* In the Nile 
countries and many other parts of Africa, it is customary for 
the men to preserve the fidelity of their wives in a way not 
unlike a method used in the age of the Crusades.® With refer- 
ence to the inhabitants of Fida, Bosman tells us that a rich 
n^ro will not suffer any man to enter the houses where his 
wives reside, and on the least suspicion will sell them to the 
Europeans ;^ whilst, in Dahomey, if a wayfarer meets any of 
the royal wives on the road, a bell warns him " to turn off, or 
stand against a wall while they pass."*^ 

That jealousy is a powerful agent in the social life of civil- 
ized nations, is a fact which it is unnecessary to dwell upon. 
In Mohammedan countries, a woman is not allowed to 
receive male visitors, or to go out unveiled,® it being un- 

1 Bock, 'The Head-Hunters of Borneo,' p. 315. 

* Riedel, loc, ciL pp. 5, 335, 448. ' * Ymer,' vol. iii. p. 144. 

* Geoi^, loc, cit pp. 348, et seq, * Chavanne, loc, cit, p. 315. 

* Bastian, ' Rechtsverhaitnisse,' p. xx. Waltz, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 516. 
7 Bosman, loc, cit, p. 479. 

^ Forbes, 'Dahomey and the Dahomans,' vol. i. p. 25. Cf, Barth, 

* Reisen/ voL iv. p. 498 ; * Globus,' vol. xli. p. 237 ; Bosman, p. 480 ; 
Chavanne, p. 401. 

® Le Bon, ' La civilisation des Arabes,' p. 434. This rule is not, how- 
ever, strictly observed among the lower classes in Arabia (Palgravc, 

* Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia,' voL i. pp. 271, et seg,)^ 
nor by the Mohammedans of Africa (d'Escayrac de Lauture, loc. cit, 
p. 63. Munzinger, loc, cit, p. 511* Chavanne, p. 349). 


lawfi)l for the Moslem to see the faces of any other women 
than those whom he is forbidden to marry and his own 
-wives and female slaves.^ A man who penetrates into the 
harem of another man may easily lose his life ; and Dr. 
Polak states that, in Persia, a European physician cannot, 
without being considered indecent, even ask about the health 
of a Mohammedan's wife and daughter, though they are ill.^ 
Again, in Japan, as I am told by a native of the country, it 
was customary for women, when getting married, to have 
their eyebrows shaved off, because thick and beautiful eye- 
brows are considered one of a woman's greatest ornaments. 
At the same time, according to Mr. Balfour, their teeth are 
stained black, which can only have the effect of making 
the wife less attractive to the husband, — as well as to 
other men.* This reminds us of the wide-spfead practice 
of depriving a woman of her ornaments as soon as she is 

The prevalence of jealousy in the human race is best shown 
by the punishments inflicted for adultery ; although it may 
be that the proprietary feeling here plays an important 
part. In a savage country a seducer may be thankful if 
he escapes by paying to the injured husband the value of the 
bride or some other fine, or if the penalty is reduced to a 
flogging, to his head being shaved, his ears cut off, one of 
his eyes destroyed, his legs speared, &c., &c. He must con- 
sider himself very lucky if he is merely paid in his own coin, 
or if the punishment falls on his wife, who, in that case, seems 
to be looked upon as the real cause of her husband's unfaith- 
fulness.* Most commonly, among uncivilized nations, the 
seducer is killed, adultery on the woman's side being con- 
sidered a heinous crime, for which nothing but the death of 
the offender can atone. Among the Waganda, it is, as a rule, 
punished even more severely than murder f and, in parts of 

* Lane, *The Manners and Customs of the Modem'^Egyptians,* voL L 
p. 138. * Polak, ' Persien,' voL L p. 224. 

* Balfour, ' The Cyclopaedia of India,' vol. ill. p. 252. 

* Moncelon, in *BulL Soc d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. viii. p. 361 (New 

^ Wilson and Felkin, ioc. ciU voL i. p. 201. 


New Guinea, capital punishment is said to be almost unknown 
except for adultery.^ 

Mr. Reade remarks that, among savages generally, it is the 
seducer who suffers, not the victim.^ Yet this holds good for 
certain peoples only,* the faithless wife being generally dis- 
carded, beaten, or ill-treated in some other way, and very 
frequently killed. Often, too, she is disfigured by her jealous 
husband, so that no man may fall in love with her in future. 
Thus, among several peoples of North America, India, and 
elsewhere, her nose is cut or bitten off, — a practice which also 
prevailed in ancient Egypt.* As late as the year 1120 the 
Council of Neapolis in Palestine decreed that an adulterer 
should be castrated, and the nose of an unfaithful wife cut 
off f whilst, in the " Uplands-lag," an old Swedish provincial 
law, it is prescribed that an adulteress, who cannot pay the 
fine of forty marks, shall lose her hair, ears, and nose.« The 
Creeks and some Chittagong Hill tribes likewise cut off the 
ears of a woman who has been guilty of infidelity ;^ and many 
other peoples are in the habit of shaving her head.® 

1 Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. vol. vi. p. 661. 

> Reade, loc, cit p. 61. 

' Some Califomian tribes (Powers, loc. cit, pp. 75, 246, 270), the 
Comanches (Schoolcraft, loc. cit. voL ii. p. 132), Guanas (Azara, loc. cit. 
vol. ii. p. 95), Patagonians (Falkner, ' Description of Patagonia,' p. 126),. 
Kaupuis in Manipur (Watt, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xvi. p. 355), 
Ladrone Islanders (Moore, loc. cit. p. 187), the ancient people of Hon- 
duras (de Herrera, * The General History of the West Indies,' vol, iv. 
p. 140). 

^ North American Indians (Schoolcraft, vol. i. p. 236 ; voL ii. p. 132 ; 
vol. v. pp. 683, 684, 686. Carver, loc. cit. p. 375. Adair, loc. cit. p. 145. 
Bancroft, loc. cit. vol* i. p. 514), Africans (Wake, 'The Evolution of 
Morality,' vol. ii. p. 128, note 2. Waitz, voL ii. p. 115), Gonds and Kor- 
ktis (Forsyth, loc. cit. p. 149), Kolyas (Watt, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst,' vol. 
xvi. p. 358), inhabitants of Nepaul (Smith, ' Five Years' Residence at 
Nepaul,' voL i. p. 153), South Slavonians (Krauss, loc. cit. pp. 569, et seq.)y 
Egyptians (Wilkinson, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 304). 

* Liebich, loc. cit. p. 50, note 3. 

^ ' Uplands-Lagen,' Aerfdse Balkasr, ch. vi. 
7 Adair, pp. 144, et seq. Lewin, loc. cit. p. 245. 

• Crees (Schoolcraft, vol. v. p. 167), Chibchas (Waitz, vol. iv. p. 367), 
Abyssinians (Lobo ' Voyage to Abyssinia,' in Pinkerton, ' Collection of 
Voyages,' vol. xv. pp. 25, et seq.)y Kolyas (Watt, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst/ 
vol. xvL p. 358), &c. 


Among a large number of peoples, a husband not only 
requires chastity from his wife, but demands that the woman 
whom he marries shall be a virgin. There can be little 
doubt, I think, that this requirement owes its origin to 
the same powerful feeling that keeps watch over marital 

Among the Ahts, for example, " a girl who was known to 
have lost her virtue, lost with it one of her chances of a 
favourable marriage."^ Among the Chippewas, according to 
Mr. Keating, no woman could expect to be taken as a wife 
by a warrior unless she had lived in strict chastity * State- 
ments to the same effect are made with reference to other 
I ndian tribes.* Again, when one of the Chichimecs of Central 
Mexico marries, if the girl proves not to be a virgin, she may 
be returned to her parents.* A very similar custom prevailed 
among the Nicaraguans and Azteks,^ and exists still among 
several tribes of the Indian Archipelago and in New Guinea f 
whilst, in Samoa, valuable presents were given for a girl who 
had preserved her virtue, the bride's purity being proved 
in a way that will not bear the light of description.^ 

"In many parts of Africa," says Mr. Reade, " no marriage 
can be ratified till a jury of matrons have pronounced a 
verdict of purity on the bride ; "® it being customary to return 
a girl who is found not to have been entirely chaste, and to 

* Sproat, loc, cit p. 95. 

« Keating, 'Expedition to the Source of St. Peter's River,' voL ii. 
pp. 169, et seq, 
' Heriot, loc, cit, p. 339. Waitz, loc. cit, vol. iii. p. 505. 

* Bancroft, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 632. 

* Squier, ' The Archaeology and Ethnology of Nicaragua,' in * Trans. 
Am. Ethn. Soc.,' vol. iii. pt. i. p. 127. Acosta, ' The Natural and Moral 
History of the Indies,' voL ii. p. 370. 

* Wilken, in ' Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde van Neder- 
landsch-IndiS,' ser. v. vol. iv, pp. 446-448. Bink, in 'Bull. Soc. 
d'Anthr.,' scr. iii. vol. xi. p. 397. 

' Turner, 'Samoa,' p. 95. Wilkes, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 80. Waitz- 
Gerland, vol. vi. p. 127. 

» Reade, loc, cit, p. 547- Cf, Waitz, vol. ii. p. 3S9 5 Nachtigal, loc, cit, 
vol i. p. 740 ; Park, ' Travels in the Interior of Africa,* p. 221 (Mandin- 
goes) ; Burckhardt, loc, cit, p. 151, note f (Arabs of Upper Egypt). 


claim back the price paid for her.^ Dr. Grade states that, 
among the Negroes of Togoland, a much higher price is paid 
for a bride who is a virgin than for any other.* Among the 
Somals, a fallen girl cannot become a man's legitimate wife f 
whilst, in the Soudan and other parts of Africa where girls 
are subjected to infibulation, that incontinence may be made 
impossible, no young woman who is not infibulated can get a 

The Jewish custom of handing " the tokens of the damsel's 
virginity " to her parents, to be kept as evidence in case of a 
later accusation, is well known.^ A practice not very dis- 
similar to this prevails in China,* Arabia,^ and among the 
Chuvashes,^ with whom the signum innocentiae is exhibited 
even coram populo. In Persia,* as also in Circassia,^® a 
girl who is not a virgin when she marries, runs the risk of 
being put away after the first night. Among several nations 
belonging to the Russian Empire, according to Georgi, the 
bridegroom may claim a fine in case of the bride being found 
to have lost her virtue '^ and, among the Chulims, if the 
Mosaic testimony of chastity is wanting, the husband goes 
away and does not return before the seducer has made peace 
with him.^ As to the ancient Germans, Tacitus states that, by 
their laws, virgins only could marry .^ 

A husband's pretensions may reach even farther than this. 
He often demands that the woman he chooses for his wife 
shall belong to him, not during his lifetime only, but after his 

* Waitz, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 113. Post, ' Airikanische Jurisprudenz,' vol. i. 
pp. 396, etseq, Johnston, 'The People of Eastern Equatorial Africa,' in 
* Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xv. p. 11. Cf. Reade, loc, cit, p. 45. 

* Grade, in * Aus alien Welttheilen,' vol. xx. p. 5. 
3 Waitz, voL ii. p. 522. 

* d'Escayrac de Lauture, loc, ciL p. 192, 
^ * Deuteronomy,* ch. xxii. w. 15-17. 

* Gray, loc, cit vol. i. p. 209, 

' Manzoni, quoted by Janke, loc cit. p. 555. Cf, Burckhardt, loc. cii. 
p. 63. « Vdmb^ry, ' Das Tiirkenvolk,' p. 461, 

* Polak, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 213. ^ Klemm, loc, cit. voL iv. p. 26. 
" Georgi, loc. cit. pp. 79, 104, 237, 238, 283. " Ibid.y p. 232. 

" Tacitus, loc, cit, ch. xix. , 


The belief in another life is almost universal in the human 
race. As that life is supposed to resemble this, man having 
the same necessities there as here, part of his property is 
buried with him. And so strong is the idea of a wife being 
the exclusive property of her husband, that, among several 
peoples, she may not even survive him. 

Thus, formerly, among the Comanches, when a man died, 
his favourite wife was killed at the same time.^ In certain 
Califomian tribes, widows were sacrificed on the pyre with 
their deceased husbands ; ^ and Mackenzie was told that this 
practice sometimes occurred among the Crees.* In Darien 
and Panama, on the death of a chief, all his concubines were 
interred with him,* When one of the Incas died, says Acosta, 
the woman whom he had loved best, as well as his servants 
and officers, were put to death, " that they might serve him 
in the other life." ^ The same custom prevailed in the region 
of the Congo, as also in some other African countries.^ " It 
is no longer possible to doubt," says Dr. Schrader, "that 
ancient Indo-Germanic custom ordained that the wife should 
die with her husband."^ In India, as is well known, 
widows were sacrificed, until quite recently, on the funeral 
pile of their husbands ; ^ whilst, among the Tartars, accord- 
ing to Navarette, on a man's death, one of his wives hanged 
herself "to bear him company in that journey." Among 
the Chinese, something of the same kind seems to have been 
done occasionally in olden times.^ 

Turning to other quarters of the world : in Polynesia, and 
especially in Melanesia, widows were very commonly killed:*^ 
In JFiji, for instance, they were either buried alive or strangled, 
often at their own desire, because they believed that in this 

1 Schoolcraft, lac. cit vol. ii. p. 133. 

^ Ibid.^ voL iv. p. 226 ; vol. v. p. 217. ^ Mackenzie, loc. cit» p. xcviii. 

* Seemann, * The Voyage of Herald,' vol. i. p. 316. 

* Acosta, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 313. 

* Reade, loc. ciL p. 359. Waltz, loc. ctt vol. ii. pp. 192, 193, 419. 
7 Schrader, loc. cit. p. 391. 

^ In Bali this practice was carried to the utmost excess (Crawford, 
^ History of the Indian Archipelago,' vol. ii. p. 241. Zimmermann, loc. cit. 
voL i. p. 19). *■' Navarette, loc. cit. p. yj. 

"0 Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. pp. 1 30, 640, et seg. 


way alone could they reach the realms of bliss, and that she 
who met her death with the greatest devotedness, would 
become the favourite wife in the abode of spirits. On the 
other hand, a widow who did not permit herself to be killed 
was considered an adulteress.^ In the New Hebrides, accord- 
ing to the missionary John Inglis, a wife is strangled, even 
when her husband is long absent from home.* 

If the husband's demands are less severe, his widow is not 
on that account always exempted from every duty towards 
him after his death. Among the TacuUies, she is compelled 
by the kinsfolk of the deceased to lie on the funeral pile where 
the body of her husband is placed, whilst the fire is lighting, 
until the heat becomes unbearable. Then, after the body 
is consumed, she is obliged to collect the ashes and deposit 
them in a small basket, which she must always carry about 
with her for two or three years, during which time she is not 
at liberty to marry again.' Among the Kutchin Indians, the 
widow, or widows, are bound to remain near the body for a 
year to protect it from animals, &c.; and only when it is quite 
decayed and merely the bones remain, are they permitted 
to remarry, "to dress their hair, and put on beads and 
other ornaments to attract admirers."* Again, among the 
Minas on the Slave Coast, the widows are shut up for six 
months in the room where their husband is buried.^ With 
the Kukis, according to Rennel, a widow was compelled to 
remain for a year beside the tomb of her deceased husband, 
her family bringing her food.^ In the Mosquito tribe, " the 
widow was bound to supply the grave of her husband with 
provisions for a year, after which she took up the bones and 
carried them with her for another year, at last placing them 

* Wilkes, loc* cit vol. iii. p. 96. Zimmermann, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 377, 
359. Seemann, * Viti,' pp. 192, 398. Williams, * Missionary Enterprises 
in the South Sea Islands,' p. 557. Pritchard, he, cit p. 372. 

^ Inglis, ' Missionary Tour in the New Hebrides,* in * Journal of the 
Ethnological Society of London,' voL iii. p. 63. 
^ Wilkes, loc, cit,, vol. iv. p. 453. Cf, Richardson, loc, cit, voL ii. 


* Hardisty, in ' Smithsonian Report,' 1866, p. 319* 

* Bouche, ' La C6te des Esclaves,' p. 218. 

* Lewin, loc, cit, p. 280. 


Upon the roof of her house, and then only was she allowed 
to marry again."^ 

In Rotuma and the Marquesas Islands,^ as well as among 
the Tartars and Iroquois,* a widow was never allowed to enter 
a second time into the married state. Among the ancient 
Peruvians, says Garcilasso de la Vega, very few widows 
who had no children ever married again, and even widows 
who had children, continued to live single ; " for this virtue 
was much commended in their laws and ordinances."* Nor is 
it in China considered proper for a widow to contract a second 
marriage, and in genteel families such an event rarely, if ever, 
occurs. Indeed, a lady of rank, by contracting a second 
marriage, exposes herself to a penalty of eighty blows.* 
Again, the Arabs,' according to Burckhardt, regard every- 
thing connected with the nuptials of a widow as ill-omened, 
and unworthy of the participation of generous and honourable 

Speaking of the Aryans, Dr. Schrader remarks that, when 
sentiments had become more humane, traces of the old 
state of things survived in the prohibitions issued against the 
second marriage of widows.^ Even now, according to 
Dubois, the happiest lot that can befall a Hindu woman, 
particularly one of the Brahman caste, is to die in the married 
state. The bare mention of a second marriage for her would 
be considered the greatest of insults, and, if she married again, 
" she would be hunted out of society, and no decent person 
would venture at any time to have the slightest intercourse 
with her."* Again, among the Bhils, when a widow marries, 
the newly-wedded pair, according to a long-established custom, 
are obliged to leave the house before daybreak and pass the 
next day in the fields, in a solitary place, some miles from the 
village, nor may they return till the dusk. The necessity of 

' Bancroft, loc, cit vol. i. p. 731. 

^ Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit vol. v. pt. ii. p. 191 ; vol. vi. p. 130. 
3 dc Rubniquis, 'Travels into Tartary and China,' in Pinkerton, 
* Collection of Voyages,' vol. vii. p. 33. Schoolcraft, loc, cit. vol. vi. p. 57. 

* Garcilasso de la Vega, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 305. 

^ Gray, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 215. ^ Burckhardt, loc. cit. p. 152. 

7 Schrader, loc. cit. p. 391. 

* Dubois, loc. cit. pp. 164, 99. 


the coople passing the first day of their marriage in this way, 
like outcasts, is, writes Sir J. Malcolm, ''to mark that sense 
of d^radation which all the natives of Hindustan entertain 
against a woman marrying a second hosband.*^ The South 
Slavonians, says Krauss, r^;ard a widow s remarriage as an 
insult to her former consort f and a similar view prevailed in 
ancient Greece, according to Pausanias,' and among the 
Romans^ The early Christians, also, strongly disapproved 
of second marriages by persons of either sex, although St. 
Paul had peremptorily urged that the younger widows should 
marry> Indeed, the practice of second nuptials was branded 
with the name of a legal adultery, and the persons who were 
guilty of so scandalous an offence against Christian purity 
were soon excluded from the honours and even from the 
alms of the Church.^ 

Much more commonly, however, the .prohibition of a 
second marriage refers only to a certain period after the 
husband's death. Thus, among the Chickasaws, widows were 
obliged to live a chaste single life for three years at the 
risk of the law of adultery being executed against the re- 
cusants 'J whibt, among the Creeks, a widow was looked upon 
as an adulteress if she spoke or made free with any man 
within four summers after the death of her husband.^ Among 
the Old Kukis, widowers and widows could not marry within 
three years, and then only with the permission of the family 
of the deceased.^ Among the Kundma, too, the period of 
widowhood must not be shorter than three years, in Sarae not 
less than two.^^ The Arawaks, British Columbians, and 

^ Malcolm, ' Essay on the Bhills/ in ' Trans. Roy. Asiatic Soc. Gr* 
Britain and Ireland,' vol. i. p. 86. ^ Krauss, loc, ciL p. 578. 

' Pausanias, "E^<idoff frepaiyrfa'is/ book ii. ch. 21. 

^ Rossbach, ioc, at, p. 262. 

^ Fulton, * The Laws of Marriage,' pp. 204, etsegf, St. Paul, 'i. Timothy/ 
ch. V. w. II, 12, 14, ifse^. 

* Gibbon, * The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire/ 
vol. i. p. 319. 

7 Adair, ioc. a/, p. 186. 

* Schoolcraft, loc. cit. vol. v. p. 269. 

* Stewart, in 'Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' voL xxiv. p. 621. 
^^ Muniinger, loc, ciL pp. 488, 387. 


Mandans required that the head of the widow should be 
shaved, and she was not permitted to marry again before her 
shorn locks regained their wonted length.^ Among the 
Hovas, Ainos, Patagonians, &c., the widow has to live a single 
life for a year at least after her husband's death,^ and among 
some other peoples for six months.^ 

It may perhaps be supposed that the object of these prohibi- 
tions is to remove all apprehensions as to pregnancy. But 
this cannot be the case when the time of mourning lasts 
for a year or more. In Sarae, where a widow is bound 
to celibacy for two years, a divorced wife is prevented 
from marrying within two months only, as Munzinger says, 
" in order to avoid all uncertainty as to pregnancy ; "* 
and, among the Bedouins, a divorced woman has, for the 
same reason, to remain unmarried for no longer time than 
forty days.* Moreover, certain peoples, especially those 
among whom monogamy is the only recognized form of 
marriage, or among whom polygyny is practised as a rare 
exception, prohibit the speedy remarriage not only of widows 
but of widowers.® 

The meaning of the interdict appears also from the common 
mle that a wife, after her husband's death, shall give up all 

* Schomburgk, loc, cit. voL i. p. 227. Lord, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 235. 
Cadin, loc. cit voL i. p. 95. 

^ Sibree, loc, cit •p. 255. v. Siebold, loc. cit p. 34. Falkner, loc. cit 
p. 1 19. Schoolcraft, loc. cit voL iii. p. 238 (Dacotahs). Powers, loc, cit 
p. 383 (Yokuts). Munzinger, loc. cit pp. 208, 241 (Takue, Marea). 
Finsch, loc. cit p. 82 (certain Papuans). 

3 Heriot, loc. cit p. 325 (Califomians). Ashe, * Travels in America,* 
p. 250 (Shawanese). Lyon, loc. cit p. 369 (Eskimo at Igloolik). 

* Munzinger, p. 387. * Burckhardt, loc. cit p. 63. 

* Greenlanders (Cranz, loc. cit voL i. p. 148), Eskimo at Igloolik 
(Lyon, loc. cit 369), Aleuts (Bancroft, loc. cit vol. i. p. 93, note 133. 
Petroff, loc. cit p. 159), Indians of Oregon (Schoolcraft, loc. cit vol. v. 
p. 655), Dacotahs {itid., vol. iii. p. 238), Yokuts (Powers, loc. cit p. 
383), Shawanese (Ashe, loc. cit p. 250), Chibchas (Waitz, loc. cit vol. iv. 
p. 3i57), Macusis (v. Martius, loc. cit vol. i. p. 649), Ainos (Dall, loc. cit 
p. 524. Bickmore, ' Notes on the Ainos,' in ' Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. 
voL viL p. 2a v. Siebold, loc, cit p. 34), Igorrotes of Luzon (Meyer, in 
* VerhandL BerL Ges. Anthr.,' 1883, p. 385. Blumentritt, loc. cit p. 28), 
Old Kukis (Stewart, in * Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. xxiv. p. 620). 



her ornaments, and have her head shaved, her hair cut short, 
or her face blackened. Among certain Indians, the law com- 
pels the widow through the long term of her mourning to 
refrain from all public company and diversions, under pain of 
being considered an adulteress, and likewise to go with flow- 
ing hair without the privilege of oil to anoint it ; ^ whilst, in 
Greenland tales, it is said of a truly disconsolate widow, 
" She mourns so, that she cannot be recognized for dirt." * 

Hence we see how deep-rooted is the idea that a woman 
belongs exclusively to one man. Savages believe that the 
soul of the deceased can return and become a tormentor of 
the living. Thus a husband, even after his death, may 
punish a wife who has proved unfaithful. 

According to travellers' statements, there are, indeed, 
peoples almost devoid of the feeling of jealousy, and the 
practice of lending or prostituting wives is generally taken as 
evidence of this. But jealousy, as well as love, is far from 
being the same feeling in the mind of a savage as in that of 
a civilized man. A wife is often regarded as not very different 
from other property, and an adulterer as a thief * In some 
parts of Africa, he is punished as such, having his hands> 
or one of them, cut ofl*. * The fact that a man lends his wife 
to a visitor no more implies the absence of jealousy than 
other ways of showing hospitality imply that he is without 
the proprietary feeling. According to Wilkes, the aborigines 
of New South Wales " will frequently give one of their wives 
to a friend who may be in want of one ; but notwithstanding 
this laxity they are extremely jealous, and are very prompt to 
resent any freedom taken with their wives." * 

A married woman is never permitted to cohabit with any 
man but the husband, except with the husband's permission ; 

1 Adair, loc, cit, pp. i86, et seq, 

* Fries, ' Gronland,' p. 76. 

^ Cf. Casalis, loc, cit p. 225 (Basutos) ; Rochon, he, cit p. 747 (people 
of Madagascar) ; Lumholtz, loc, ciL p. 126 (natives of Northern Queens- 
land) ; Letoumeau, ' L'^volution du manage et de la famille,' pp. 258, 
et seq, 

^ In Fernando Po (Reade, he, cit, p. 61) and among the Fulah (Waitz^ 
he, cit, voL ii. p. 472). 

5 Wilkes, he, cit, voL ii. p. 195. 


and this permission is given only as an act of hospitality or 
friendship, or as a means of profit. When we are told that a 
negro husband uses his wife for entrapping other men and 
making them pay a heavy fine ; ^ that, among the Crees, 
adultery is considered no crime "provided the husband re- 
ceives a valuable consideration for his wife's prostitution ; " * 
or that, in Nukahiva, husbands sometimes ofier their wives to 
foreigners " from their ardent desire of possessing iron, or other 
European articles," ' — we must not infer from this profligacy 
that jealousy is unknown to man at early stages of civiliza- 
tion. On the contrary, such practices are due chiefly to 
contact with a " higher culture," which often has the effect ot 
misleading natural instincts. " Husbands, after the degrada- 
tion of a pseudo-civilization," says Mr. Bon wick, "are some- 
times found ready to barter the virtue of a wife for a piece of 
tobacco, a morsel of bread, or a silver sixpence." * Mr. Curr 
observes that, among the Australian natives, " husbands dis- 
play much less jealousy of white men than of those of their 
own colour," and that they will more commonly prostitute 
their wives to strangers visiting the tribe than to their own 
people. ^ " Under no circumstances," says Sir George 
Grey, " is a strange native allowed to approach the fire of a 
married man."® According to Bosman, the Negroes of 
Benin were very jealous of their wives with their own country- 
men, though not in the least with European foreigners ; ^ and 
Lisiansky states exactly the same as regards the Sandwich 
Islanders.^ In California, says Mr. Powers, "since the advent 
of the Americans the husband often traffics in his wife's 
honour for gain, and even forces her to infamy when unwill- 
ing ; though in early days he would have slain her without 
pity and without remorse for the same offence." * The like is 
true of the Columbians about Puget Sound ;^^ and Georgi 

^ Reade, loc. cit. p. 44. ' Das Ausland,' 1881, p. 1028. 

* FrankHn, loc, cit, pp. 67, et seq. 
^ Lisiansky, loc, cit, p. 82. 

* Bonwick, ' The Last of the Tasmanians,' p. 308. 

^ Curr, loc, cit, voL i. p. 1 10. Cf, Lumholtz, loc, cit, pp. 345, et seq, 

* Grey, loc. cit, voL ii. pp. 252, et seq, 

7 Bosman, loc, cit, p. 525. ^ Lisiansky, p. 128. 

^ Powers, loc, cit, p. 413. **^ Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 218. 

K 2 


remarks that the nomadic Koriaks torment their wives by 
their jealousy, sometimes even killing them from this passion ; 
whereas those Koriaks who lead a stationary life, being far 
more advanced in civilization, are so little addicted to it, that 
they even have a relish for seeing foreigners make love to their 
wives, whom they dress accordingly. ^ 

If the hypothesis of an annual pairing time in the infancy 
of mankind holds good, jealousy must at that stage have 
been a passion of very great intensity. 

It may, however, be supposed that this feeling, though be- 
longing to human nature, has been restrained by certain con- 
ditions which have made it necessary, or desirable, for a man 
to share his wife with other men. Thus polyandry now 
prevails in several parts of the world. But I shall endeavour 
to show, later on, that this practice is due chiefly to scarcity 
of women, and commonly implies an act of fraternal benevo- 
lence, the eldest and first married brother in a family giving 
his younger brothers a share in his wife, if they would 


otherwise be obliged to live unmarried. Hence polyandry 
can by no means, as Mr. McLennan suggests, be regarded as 
'' a modification of and advance from promiscuity." It owes 
its origin to causes, or a cause, which never would have pro- 
duced general communism in women. Besides, it can be 
proved that polyandry is abhorrent to the rudest races of 

It has been suggested, too, that man's gregarious way oi 
living made promiscuity necessary. The men of a group, it 
is said, must either have quarrelled about their women and 
separated, splitting the horde into hostile sections, or indulged 
in promiscuous intercourse. But it is hard to understand why 
tribal organization in olden times should have prevented a 
man having his special wife, since it does not do so among 
savages still existing. Primitive law is the law of might ; and 
it is impossible to believe that the stronger men, who generally 
succeeded in getting the most comely women, voluntarily 
gave their weaker rivals a share in their precious capture. 
Regarding the aborigines of Queensland, Lumholtz states 

* Gcorgi, loc, ciL p. 349. 


that, as a rule, it is diiEcult for men to marry before they are 
thirty years of age, the old men having the youngest and 
best-looking wives, while a young man must consider himself 
fortunate if he can get an old woman.^ It more commonly 
happens among savages, however, that almost every full- 
grown man is able to get a wife for himself ; and when this is 
the case, there is still less reason for assuming communism 
in women. 

It is not, of course, impossible that, among some peoples, 
intercourse between the sexes may have been almost promis- 
cuous. But there is not a shred of genuine evidence for the 
notion that promiscuity ever formed a general stage in the 
social history of mankind. The hypothesis of promiscuity, 
instead of belonging, as Professor Giraud-Teulon thinks,^ to 
the class of hypotheses which are scientifically permissible, 
has no real foundation, and is essentially unscientific. 

^ Lumholtz, loc. ciL p. 163. 

2 Giraud-Teulon, ' Les origines du maxiage et de la famille,' p. 70. 



With wild animals sexual desire is not less powerful as an . 
incentive to strenuous exertion than hunger and thirst In the 
rut-time, the males even of the most cowardly species engjage 
in mortal combats ; and abstinence, or, at least, voluntary 
abstinence, is almost unheard of in a state of nature.^ 

As regards savage and barbarous races of men, among whom 
the relations of the sexes under normal conditions take the 
form of marriage, nearly every individual strives to get 
married as soon as he, or she, reaches the age of puberty.* 
Hence there are far fewer bachelors and spinsters among them 
than among civilized peoples. Harmon found that, among 
the Blackfeet, Crees, Chippewyas, and other aboriginal tribes 
on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, celibacy was a 
rare exception ; * and Ashe noted the same fact among the 
Shawanese,* Prescott states of the Dacotahs, " I do not 
know of a bachelor among them. They have a little more 


1 As a curious exception to this rule. Dr. Brehm (' Bird-Life,' p. 289) 

mentions a bereaved hen sparrow, who, though she had eggs to hatch 
and young to rear, would not take a second mate. 

* Among the Kaniagmuts and Aleuts (Dall, loc. cit p. 402), as also occa- 
sionally among other North American tribes, certain men were dressed 
and brought up like women, and never married ; whereas, among the 
Eastern Eskimo, there are some women who refuse to accept husbands, 
preferring to adopt masculine manners, following the deer on the mount- 
ains, trapping and fishing for themselves {}bid.y p. 139). 

* Harmon, loc. ciU p. 339. 

* Ashe, loc. cit, p. 250. 


respect for the women and themselves, than to live a single 
life."^ Indeed, according to Adair, many Indian women 
thought virginity and widowhood the same as death,* Among 
the Eastern Greenlanders, visited by Lieutenant Holm, only 
one unmarried woman was met with.* 

The Charruas, says Azara, "ne restent jamais dans le 
c^libat, et ils se marient aussitdt qu'iis sentent le besoin de 
cette union."* As regards the Yahgans, Mr. Bridges writes 
that none but mutes and imbeciles remained single, except some 
lads of vigour who did so from choice, influenced by licentious- 
ness. But *' no woman remained unmarried ; almost im- 
mediately on her husband's death the widow found another 

Among the wild nations of Southern Africa, according to 
Burchell, neither men nor women ever pass their lives in 
a state of celibacy ; ^ and Bosman assures us that very few 
negroes of the Gold Coast died single, unless they were quite 
young.* Among the Mandingoes, Cailli6 met with no 
instance of a young woman, pretty or plain, who had not a 
husband.^ Barth reports that the Western Touaregs had no 
fault to find with him except that he lived in celibacy ; they 
could not even understand how this was possible.* 

Among the Sinhalese there are hardly any old bachelors 
and old maids ; • and Mr. Marshall says of the Todas, " No 
unmarried class exists, to disturb society with its loves and 
broils ; ... it is a ' very much married ' people. Every 
man and every woman, every lad and every girl is some- 
body's husband or wife ; tied at the earliest possible age. . . . 
With the exception of a cripple girl, and of those women who, 
past the child-bearing age, were widows, I did not meet with 
a single instance of unmarried adult females."^^ Among the 

1 Schoolcraft, loc, ciL vol. Hi. p. 238. * Adair, loc, cit, p. 187. 

' * Science,' vol. vii. p. 172. * Azara, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 21. 

* Burchell, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 58. Cf. ibid.^ vol. ii. p. 565. 
^ Bosman, loc, cit p. 424. 

7 Cailli^, ' Travels through Central Africa,* vol. i. p. 348. 

* Barth, * Reisen,' vol. i. p. 489. 

* Davy, loc, cit p. 284. 

1® Marshall, loc, dt pp. 220, et seq. 


Toungtha, it is unheard of for a man or woman to be un- 
married after the age of thirty ; and, among the Chukmas, a 
bachelor twenty-five years old is rarely seen.^ The Muisfs 
consider it a father's duty to fix upon a bridegroom as soon as 
his daughter becomes marriageable.* Among the Burmese * 
and the Hill Dyaks of Borneo,^ old maids and old bachelors 
are alike unknown. Among the Sumatrans, too, instances of 
persons of either sex passing their lives in a state of celibacy 
are extremely rare : — " In the districts under my charge," says 
Marsden, ''are about eight thousand inhabitants, among 
whom I do not conceive it would be possible to find ten 
instances of men of the age of thirty years unmarried."* In 
Java, Mr. Crawfurd ** never saw a woman of two-and-twenty 
that was not, or had not been, married."* In Tonga, 
according to Mariner, there were but few women who, from 
whim or some accidental cause, remained single for life.^ In 
Australia, " nearly all the girls are betrothed at a very early 
age ;" and Mr. Curr never heard of a woman, over sixteen years 
of age, who, prior to the breakdown of aboriginal customs after 
the coming of the Whites, had not a husband.^ As to the 
natives of Herbert River, Northern Queensland, Herr 
Lumholtz says that though the majority of the young men 
have to wait a long time before they get wives, it is rare for 
a man to die unmarried.* 

Indeed, so indispensable does marriage seem to uncivilized 
man, that a person who does not marry is looked upon 
almost as an unnatural being, or, at any rate, is disdained.^^ 

* Lewin, loc, cit pp. 193, 175. * Dalton, loc. cit, p. 233. 
' Fytche, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 69, note. 

* Wallace, 'Thfe Malay Archipelago,' vol. i. p. 141. 

^ Marsden, loc. cit, pp. 256, et seq. Cf. Schellong, ^ Familienleben und 
Gebrauche der Papuas,' in 'Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie,' vol. xxi. p. 17 
(Papuans of Finschhafen, Kaiser Wilhelm Land). 

® Crawfurd, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 86. 

' Martin, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 168. 

^ Brough Smyth, loc. cit. vol. i. p. xxi v. Curr, loc. cit. vol. i. p. i la 

^ Lumholtz, loc. cit. p. 184. 

^® Cf. Landsdell, 'Through Siberia,' voL ii. p. 226 (Gilyaks) ; Armstrong^ 
' The Discovery of the North- West Passage,' p. 192 (Eskimo) ; Wilken, 
in ' De Indische Gids,' 1880, vol. ii. p. 633, note 2 (natives of the Indian 


Among the Santals, if a man remains single, '' he is at once 
despised by both sexes, and is classed next to a thief, or 
a witch : they term the unhappy wretch * No man.' " ^ 
Among the Kafirs, a bachelor has no voice in the kraal. ^ 
The Tipperahs, as we are told by Mr. J. F. Browne, do not 
consider a man a person of any importance till he is married f 
and, in the Tupi tribes, no man was suffered to partake 
of the drinking-feast while he remained single.* The Fijians 
even believed that he who died wifeless was stopped by the 
god Nangganangga on the road to Paradise, and smashed to 

It may also be said that savages, as a rule, marry earlier in 
life than civilized men. A Greenlander, says Dr. Nansen, 
often marries before there is any chance of the union being 
productive.^ Among the Californians, Mandans, and most 
of the north-western tribes in North America, marriage fre- 
quently takes place at the age of twelve or fourteen.^ In the 
wild tribes of Central Mexico, girls are seldom unmarried 
after the age of fourteen or fifteen.* Among the Talamanca 
Indians, a bride is generally from ten to fourteen years old, 
whilst a man seldom becomes a husband before fourteen.* In 
certain other Central American tribes, the parents try to get 
a wife for their son when he is nine or ten years old.^® 

Among the natives of Brazil, the man generally marries at 
the age of from fifteen to eighteen, the woman from ten to 
twelve.^ According to Azara, the like was the case with the 
Guaranies of the Plata, whilst, among the Guanas, " celle qui 
se marie le plus tard, se marie k neuf ans."^^ In Tierra del 

^ Man, * Sonthalia and the Sontbals,' p. loi. 

* V. Weber, loc.cit vol. ii. p. 215. * Dalton, loc, cit. p. no. 

* Southey, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 240. 

* Pritchard, loc, cit. pp. 368, 372. Seemann, * Viti,' pp. 399, et seq, 

* Nansen, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 320. 

7 Powers, loc. cit, p. 413. Catlin, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 121. Cf. Ross, 'The 
Eastern Tinneh,* in * Smithsonian Report,* 1866, p. 305 (Chippewyas) ; 
Schoolcraft, /(E7r. cit.voL ii. p. 132 (Comanches) ; vol. iii. p. 238 (Dacotahs). 

* Bancroft, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 632. 

» Bovallius, * Resa i Central-Amerika,' vol. i. p. 248. 
^ Morelet, * Reisen in Central- Amerika,' p. 257. 
^^ V. Spix and v. Martius, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 248. 
^' Azara, loc. dt. vol. ii. pp. 60, 61, 94. 


Fuego, as we are informed by Lieutenant Bove, a girl looks 
about for a husband when twelve or thirteen years old, and a 
youth marries at the age of from fourteen to sixteen.^ 

Many African peopleis, e.g,^ the Abyssinians,* the Beni- 
Amer, the Djour tribes on the White Nile,* the Arabs of the 
Sahara, the Wakamba, and the Ba-kwileh,^ are likewise said 
to marry very young. Marriage usually takes place, among 
the Bongos, when they are from fifteen to seventeen years old, 
but in many other tribes at an earlier age.* 

Among the Sinhalese, when a young man has reached the 
age of eighteen or twenty, it is the duty of his father to pro- 
vide him with a proper wife.^ Among the Bodo and Dhimils, 
" marriage takes place at maturity, the male being usually 
from twenty to twenty-five years of age, and the female from 
fifteen to twenty."^ A Santal lad marries, as a rule, about 
the age of sixteen or seventeen, and a girl at that of fifteen f 
whilst a Kandh boy marries when he reaches his tenth or 
twelfth year, his wife being usually about four years older.* 
The Khyoungtha,^® Munda Kols,^ Red Karens,^^ Siamese," 
Burmese,^* Mongols,^* and other Asiatic peoples, are also known 
to marry early. Among the Tsuishikari Ainos, " the young 
men are expected to marry when they reach the age of twenty, 
and the young women usually become wives at eighteen."^® 

^ ' Globus,* vol. xliii. p. 1 57. 

* Parkyns, ' Life in Abyssinia,' vol. ii. p. 41. 

3 Munzinger, loc. ciU p. 324. Petherick, * Egypt, the Soudan and 
Central Africa,' p. 396. 

* Chavanne, loc, cit, p. 401. Krapf, * Travels in East Africa,' p. 354. 
*" Ymer,' vol. v. p. 168. 

t-WtJson and Felkin, loc, cit vol. ii. pp. 145,^/ seq. 
^ Davy, loc, cit p. 284. 

^ Hodgson, ' The K6cch, Bodo and • Dhimdl People,' in ^ Jour. As. See. 
Bengal,' vol. xviii. pt ii. p. 734. 
® Hunter, ' Rural Bengal,' vol. i. p. 205. Cf, Man, loc, cit p. 20. 

* Hunter, vol. iii. p. 82. *° Lewin, loc, cit p. 125. 
^^ JeUinghaus, in'Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,'vol. iii. pp. '^^et seq, 

" Colquhoun, * Amongst the Shans,' p. 64. 

'* Neale, * Residence in Siam,' p. 155. 

'* Fytche, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 69. 

" Hue, 'Travels in Tartary,' vol. i. p. 184. 

^' Dixon, in * Trans. As. Soc. Japan,' vol. xi. pt. i. p. 43. 


Again, among the Lake Dwellers of Lob-nor, girls enter into 
matrimony at the age of fourteen or fifteen, men at the same 
age, or a little later ; ^ whilst, among the Malays, according to 
Mr. Bickmore, the boys usually marry for the first time when 
about sixteen, and the girls at the age of thirteen or fourteen, 
and occasionally still earlier.* 

Passing to the Australian continent : among the natives of 
New South Wales, the parties are in most cases betrothed 
very early in life, the young man claiming his wife later on, as 
soon as he arrives at the proper age.* According to Mr. 
Curr, " girls become wives at from eight to fourteen years of 
age."* At Port Moresby, New Guinea, "few men over 
twenty years of age remain single ; *' and the Maoris in New 
Zealand are stated to marry very young.* 

Moreover, celibacy is comparatively rare not only among 
savage and barbarous, but among several civilized races. 

Among the Azteks, no young man lived single till his 
twenty-second year, unless he intended to become a priest, 
and for girls the customary marrying-age was from eleven to 
eighteen. In Tlascala, according to Clavigero, the unmarried 
state was, indeed, so despised that a full-grown man who 
would not marry, had his hair cut off for shame.^ Again, 
among the ancient Peruvians, every year, or every two years, 
each governor in his district had to arrange for the marriage 
of all the young men at the age of twenty-four and upwards, 
and all the girls from eighteen to twenty.^ 

In Japan, as I am told by a Japanese friend, old maids and 
old bachelors are almost entirely unknown, and the same is 
the case in China.^ " Almost all Chinese," says Dr. Gray, 

* Prejevalsky, * From Kulja to Lob-nor,' pp. iii, ^/ seq. 

* Bickmore, loc» cit, p, 278. Cf. Wilken, in * Bijdragen,' &c., ser. v. 
vol. i. p. 143. 

^ Wilkes, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 195. 

* Curr, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 107. 

* Stone, * Port Moresby and Neighbourhood,' in * Jour. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' 
vol. xlvi. p. 55. Ploss, loc. cit vol. i. p. 392. 

' Klemm, loc, cit voL v. pp. 46, et seq, Bancroft, loc. cit vol. ii. pp. 
251, ^/ seq. 

'^ Garcilasso de la Vega, loc. cit vol . i. pp. 306, et seq. 
^ Balfour, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 882. 


" robust or infirm, well-formed or deformed, are called upon 
by their parents to marry so soon as they have attained the 
age of puberty. Were a grown-up son or daughter to die 
unmarried, the parents would regard it as most deplorable.'' 
Hence a young man of marriageable age, whom consumption 
or any other lingering disease had marked for its own, would 
be called upon by his parents or guardians to marry at once.* 
Nay, so indispensable is marriage considered among this 
people that even the dead are married. Thus the spirits of 
all males who die in infancy, or in boyhood, are in due time 
married to the spirits of females who have been cut off at a 
like early age.* 

Marco Polo states the prevalence of the same practice 
among the Tartars.* In Corea, says the Rev, John Ross, 
" the male human being who is unmarried is never called 
a * man,' whatever his age, but goes by the name of * yatow ; ' 
a name given by the Chinese to unmarriageable young 
girls : and the ' man ' of thirteen or fourteen has a perfect 
right to strike, abuse, order about the * yatow * of thirty, who 
dares not as much as open his lips to complain."* 

Mohammedan peoples generally consider marriage a duty 
both for men and women.*^ " Nothing," says Carsten Niebuhr, 
" is more rarely to be met with in the East, than a woman 
unmarried after a certain time of life." She will rather 
marry a poor man, or become second wife to a man already 
married, than remain in a state of celibacy.* Among the 
Persians, for instance, almost every girl of good repute is 
married before her twenty-first year, and old bachelors are 
unknown.^ In Egypt, according to Mr. Lane, it is improper 
and even disreputable to abstain from marrying when a man 
has attained a sufficient age, and when there is no just 

* Gray, loc, cit, vol. i. p. i86. * Ibid,^ vol. i. pp. 216, tf/ seq. 
' Marco Polo, loc. cit, vol. i. pp. 234, et seq. 

* Ross, ' History of Corea,' p. 313. 

* d'Escayrac de Lauture, loc, cit, p. 67. 

« Niebuhr, ' Travels in Arabia,' in Pinkerton, ' Collection of Voyages/ 
voL X. p. 151. Cf, Burckhardt, loc, cit, p. 64 (Arabs). 
' Polak, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 205. ® Lane, loc. cit. voLi. p. 213. 


Among the Hebrews, celibacy was nearly unheard of, as it 
IS among the Jews of our day. They have a proverb that 
" he who has no wife is no man." ^ " To an ancient Israelite," 
Michaelis remarks, "it would indeed have appeared very 
strange to have seen, though but in a vision, a period in the 
future history of the world, when it would be counted sanctity 
and religion to live unmarried."^ Marriage was by the 
Hebrews looked upon as a religious duty. According to the 
Talmud, the authorities can compel a man to marry, and he 
who lives single at the age of twenty is accursed by God 
almost as if he were a murderer.^ 

The ancient nations of the Aryan stock, as M. Fustel de 
Coulanges and others have pointed out, regarded celibacy as 
an impiety and a misfortune : " an impiety, because one who 
did not marry put the happiness of the Manes of the family 
in peril ; a misfortune, because he himself would receive no 
worship after his death." A man's happiness in the next 
world depended upon his having a continuous line of male 
descendants, whose duty it would be to make the periodical 
offerings for the repose of his soul.* 

Thus, according to the 'Laws of Manu,' marriage is the 
twelfth Sanskara, and hence a religious duty incumbent upon 
alL* " Until he finds a wife, a man is only half of a whole," we 
read in the * Brahmadharma ' ;^ and, among the Hindus of the 
present day, a man who is not married is considered to be a 
person without establishment, and almost a useless member of 
society. Until he arrives at this state, says Dubois, he is not 
consulted on any great affairs, nor employed in any important 
trust. He is, indeed, looked upon as beyond the pale of nature. 
It is also an established national rule, that women are designed 

* Ahdree, ' Zur Volkskunde der Juden,' pp. 140, et seq. 

^ Michaelis, ' Commentaries on the Laws of Moses,' vol. i. p. 471. 
' Mayer, ' Die^Rechte der Israeliten, Athener und Rfimer,' pp. 286, 353. 
Lichtschein, ' Die £he nach mosaisch-talmudischer Auffassung,' p. 6. 

* Fustel de Coulanges, ' The Ancient City,' p. 63. Heam, ' The Aryan 
Household,' pp. 69, 71. Mayne, ' Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage,' 
pp. 68, et seq, 

* * The Laws of Manu,' oh. ii. w. 66, et seq. Monier Williams, ' Indian 
Wisdom,' p. 246. Cf, Mayne, p. 69. 

* Muir, ' Religious and Moral Sentiments,' p. 1 10. 


for no other end than to be subservient to the wants and 
pleasures of men ; consequently, all women without exception 
are obliged to marry, when husbands can be found for them, 
and those who cannot find a husband commonly fall into the 
state of concubinage.^ 

The ancient Greeks considered marriage a matter not 
merely of private, but also of public interest. This was 
particularly the case at Sparta, where criminal proceedings 
might be taken against those who married too late, and 
against those who did not marry at all. In Solon's legislation 
marriage was also placed under the inspection of the State, 
and, at Athens, persons who did not marry might be prosecuted,, 
although the law seems to have grown obsolete in later times. 
But independently of public considerations, there were private 
reasons which made marriage an obligation.^ Plato remarks 
that every individual is bound to provide for a continuance of 
representatives to succeed himself as ministers of the Divinity;' 
and Isseus says, " All they who think their end approaching,, 
look forward with a prudent care that their houses may not 
become desolate, but that there may be some person to attend 
to their funeral rites, and to perform the legal ceremonies at 
their tombs."* 

To the Roman citizen, as Mommsen observes, a house of 
his own and the blessing of children appeared the end and 
essence of life;* and Cicero's treatise *De Legibus' — a treatise 
which generally reproduces, in a philosophic form, the 
ancient laws of Rome — contains a law, according to which 
the Censors had to impose a tax upon unmarried men.^ But in 
later periods, when sexual morality reached a very low ebb in 
Rome, celibacy — as to which grave complaints were made as 
early as 520 B.C. — naturally increased in proportion, especially 

^ Dubois, loc, cit, pp. 99-101. 

' Miiller, ' The History and Antiquities of the Doric Race,' vol. ii. pp. 
300, et seq. Smith, ' Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities,' p. 735. 
Fustel de Coulanges, loc. cit, pp. 63, et seq. Heam, loc, cit, p. 72. 

^ Plato, * No/iOi,' book vi. p. 773. 

^ Isseus, ' ncpi rou * hiroXkoboapov kki}pcvy*'p. 66. 

* Mommsen, ' The History of Rome,' vol. i. p. 62. 

* Cicero, ' De Legibus,' book iii. ch. 3. Fustel de Coulanges, /oc, cit, 
p. 63. 


among the well-off classes. Among these, marriage came to 
be regarded as a burden which people took upon themselves 
at the best in the public interest. Indeed, how it fared with 
marriage and the rearing of children, is shown by the Gracchan 
agrarian laws, which first placed a premium thereon ; ^ whilst, 
later on, the Lex Julia et Papia Pofpcea imposed various 
penalties on those who lived in a state of celibacy after 
a certain age,* — but with little or no result* 

Again, the Germans, as described by Caesar, accounted it in 
the highest degree scandalous to have intercourse with the 
other sex before the twentieth yean* Tacitus also asserts 
that the young men married late, and the maidens did not 
hurry into marriage.^ But it seems probable that at a later 
age celibacy was almost unknown among the Germans, except 
in the case of women who had once lost their reputation, for 
whom neither beauty, youth, nor riches could procure a 
husband.^ As for the Slavs, it should be observed that, 
among the Russian peasantry, celibacy is even now unheard oV 
When a youth reaches the age of eighteen, he is informed 
by his parents that he ought to marry at once.® 

There are, however, even in savage life circumstances which 
compel certain persons to live unmarried for a longer or 
shorter time. When a wife has to be bought, a man must of 
course have some fortune before he is able to marry. Thus, as 
regards the Zulus, Mr. Eyles writes to me that " young men 
who are without cattle have often to wait many years before 
getting married."® When Major-General Campbell asked 
some of the Kandhs why they remained single, they replied 
that they did so because wives were too expensive.^® Among 
the Munda Kols and Hos, in consequence of the high prices 
of brides, are to be found " what are probably not known 

' Mommsen, loc, ciU vol. ii. p. 432 ; voL iii. p. 440 ; vol. iv. p. 547. 

^ Rossbach, loc, cit, p. 418. 

^ Mackenzie, ' Studies in Roman Law,' p. 104. 

^ Caesar, ' De Bello Galileo/ book vi. ch. 21. ^ Tacitus, loc, cit ch. xx. 

* Ibid.^ ch. xix. ^ Cf, Klemm, loc, cit, voL x. p. 79. 

* Mackenzie Wallace, 'Russia,' vol. i. p. 138. 
^ Cf,y, Weber, loc, cit, voL ii. p. 216 (Kafirs). 

'• Campbell, ' The Wild Tribes of Khondistan,' p. 143. 


to exist in other parts of India, respectable elderly maidens."* 
In the New Britain Group, too, according to Mr. Romilly, the 
purchase sum is never fixed at too low a price, hence " it con- 
stantly happens that the intended husband is middle-aged 
before he can marry."^ Similar statements are made in a good 
many books of travels.* 

Polygyny, in connection with slavery and the unequal 
distribution of property, acts in the same direction. In 
Makin, one of the Kingsmill Islands, a great number of 
young men were unmarried owing to the majority of the 
women being monopolized by the wealthy and powerful.* 
Among the Bakongo, according to Mr. Ingham, as also among 
the Australians,^ polygyny causes celibacy among the poorer 
and younger men ; and Dr. Sims says the like of the Bateke, 
Mr. Cousins of the Kafirs, Mr. Radfield of the inhabitants oi 
Lifu. Among the Kutchin Indians, according to Hardisty, 
there are but few young men who have wives — unless they 
can content themselves with some old cast-off widow — on 
account of all the chiefs, medicine-men, and those who 
possess rank acquired by property having two, three, or more 
wives.* For the same reason many men of the lower classes 
of the Waganda are obliged to remain single, in spite of the 
large surplus of women. ^ In Micronesia, also, it is common 
for the poorer class and the slaves to be doomed to perpetual 
celibacy.® Among the Thlinkets, a slave cannot acquire pro- 

^ Watson and Kaye, loc, cit, vol. i. no. i8. Dalton, loc, cii, p. 192. 

* Romilly, in ' Proceed. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' N. S. voL ix. p. 8. 

' Richardson, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 383 (Kutchin). Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit. 
vol. vi. p. 126 (Tahitians). Chavanne, ^ Reisen im Kongostaate/ p. 399 
(Bafidte tribes). Ross, loc. cit. p. 313 (Coreans). Ahlqvist, loc. cit. pp. 203, 
et seq. (Tartars). Idem^ 'Unter Wogulen und Ostjaken/ in 'Acta Soc 
Sci. Fennicae,' vol. xiv. p. 291 (Ostyaks). 

* Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. v. p. 102. 

^ Brough Smyth, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 291. Palmer, in ' Jour. Anthr. 
Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 281. Dawson, loc. cit. p. 35. Mr. Curr states {loc. dt, 
vol. i. p. no) that, as a rule, wives are not obtauned by the Australian 
men tmtil they are at least thirty years of age. 

* Hardisty, in ' Smith. Rep.,' 1866, p. 312. 
7 Wilson and Felkin, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 224. 

® Waitz-Gerland, voL v. pt. ii. p. 125. Wilkes, vol. v. p. 74- Romilly, 
' The Western Pacific,* pp. 69, et seq. 



perty, nor marry, except by consent of his master, which is 
rarely given ; ^ and in the Soudan the case seems to be the 

But we must not exaggerate the importance of these 
obstacles to marriage. When the man is not able to buy 
a wife for himself, he may, in many cases, acquire her by 
working for some time with her parents, or by eloping with 
her. Moreover, as Sir John Lubbock remarks, the price of a 
wife is generally regulated by the circumstances of the tribe, 
so that nearly every industrious young man is enabled to get 
one,* Speaking of the Sumatrans, Marsden observes that the 
necessity of purchasing does not prove such an obstacle to 
matrimony as is supposed, for there are few families who are not 
in possession of some small substance, and the purchase-money 
of the daughters serves also to provide wives for the sons.* 
Again, polygyny is, as we shall see further on, almost every- 
where restricted to a small minority of the people, and is very 
often connected with the fact that there is a surplus of women. 
Thus, among the polygynous Waguha, as I am informed by 
Mr. Swann, unmarried grown-up men do not exist, the 
women being more numerous than the men. At any rate, we 
may conclude that at earlier stages of civilization, when 
polygyny was practised less extensively and women were less 
precious chattels than they afterwards became, celibacy was 
a much rarer exception than it is now among many of the 
lower races. 

Passing to the peoples of Europe, we find, from the evidence 
adduced by statisticians, that modern civilization has proved 
very unfavourable to the number of marriages. In civilized 
Europe, in 1875, more than a third of the male and female 
population beyond the age of fifteen lived in a state of 
voluntary or involuntary celibacy. Excluding Russia, the 
number of celibates varied from 25*57 per cent in Hungary 
to 44.'93 per cent, in Belgium. And among them there are 

* DaD, loc. cit, p. 420. ^ Barth, * Reisen,' vol. ii. pp. 171, et seq, 

3 Lubbock, loc, cit. p. 131. Cf. Bosiuan, loc, cit, pp. 419, 424 (Negroes 
of the Gold Coast). 

* Marsden, loc. cit. pp. 256, et seq. 



many who never marry.^ In the middle of this century, 
Wappaus found that, in Saxony, 14*6 per cent, of the un- 
married adult population died single; in Sweden, 14*9 percent; 
in the Netherlands, 17*2 per cent. ; and in France, 20'6 per cent.* 
Of the rest, many marry comparatively late in life. Thus, in 
Denmark, only 19*43 per cent, of the married men were 
under twenty-five, and in Bavaria (in 1 870-1 878) only 16*36, 
whilst the figures for England and Russia look more favour- 
able, being respectively 51*90 per cent, (in 1872-1878), and 
68*31 per cent (in 1867-1875). Of the married women, on 
the other hand, only 5*09 per cent, are below the age of twenty 
in Sweden, 5*40 per cent in Bavaria, 7*44 per cent, in Saxony, 
14*86 per cent, in England, &c. ; but in Hungary as many as 
3S*i6 per cent, and in Russia even 57*27 per cent' The mean 
age of the bachelors who enter into matrimony is 26 years in 
England and 28*40 in France, that of the spinsters respectively 
2407 and 25-3.'* 

As a rule, the proportion of unmarried people has been 
gradually increasing in Europe during this century,* and the 
age at which people marry has risen. In England we need 
not go farther back than two decades, to find a greater tend- 
ency on the part of men to defer marriage till a later age 
than was formerly the case.® Finally, it must be noted that 
in country districts single men and women are more 
seldom met with, and marriage is generally concluded 
earlier in life, than in towns.^ 

There are, indeed, several factors in modem civilization 
which account for the comparatively large number of celi- 
bates. In countries where polygyny is permitted, women 
have a better chance of getting married than men, but in 
Europe the case is reversed. Here, as in most parts of the 

V. Oettingen, ioc. cit. p. 140, note. 

* Wappaus, Ioc, cit, vol. ii. p. 267. 

^ Haushofer, * Lehr- und Handbuch der Statistik,' pp. 404-406. 
^ Wilkens, in ^ Nationaloekonomisk Tidsskrift,' vol. xvi. p. 9a 
^ Haushofer, p. 396. Wappaus, vol. ii. p. 229. v. Oettingen, ioc, ciL 
p. 120. 

• ' Forty-sixth Annual Report of the Registrar- General,' pp. viii., et seq, 
' v. Oettingen, pp. 125, et seq. Block, * Statistique de la France,' 

vol. i. p. 69. 


world, the adult women outnumber the adult men. If we 
reckon the age for marriage from twenty to fifty years, a 
hundred men may, in Europe, choose amongst a hundred and 
three or four women, so that about three or four women per 
cent, are doomed to a single life on account of our obligatory 

The chief cause, however, of increasing celibacy is the diffi- 
culty of supporting a family in modern society. The import- 
ance of this factor is distinctly proved by statistics. It has 
been observed that the frequency of marriages is a very 
sensible barometer of the hopes which the mass of people 
have for the future ; hard times, wars, commercial crises, &c., 
regula.rly depressing the number of marriages, whilst com- 
parative abundance has the opposite effect* 

In non-European countries into which a precocious civi- 
lization has not been introduced, the population is more 
nearly in proportion to the means of subsistence, and people 
adapt their mode of life more readily to their circumstances. 
In most cases a man can earn his living sooner f and a wife, 
far from being a burden to her husband, is rather a help to 
him, being his labourer or sometimes even his supporter. 
Moreover, children, instead of requiring an education that 
would absorb the father's earnings, become, on the contrary, 
a source of income. Thus Mr. Bickmore asserts that, among 
the Malays, difficulty in supporting a family is unknown.* 
Carsten Niebuhr states that, in the East, men are as dis- 
posed to marry as women, " because their wives, instead of 
being expensive, are rather profitable to them."^ And, speak- 
ing of the American Indians, Heriot says that children form 
the wealth of savage tribes.® 

' V. Oettingen, loc. cit. p. 60. 

* Haushofer, loc, ciL pp. 400, et seq, * Forty-seventh Ann. Rep. Reg.- 
Gen.,' p. viii. Cf, Wappaus, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 216. 

' Speaking of the Santals, Sir W. W. Hunter remarks (* Rural Bengal,' 
voL i. p. 205), ' In the tropical forest, a youth of sixteen or seventeen is 
as able to provide for a family as ever he will be ; and a leaf hut, with a 
few earthen or brazen pots, is all the establishment a Santal young lady 
expects.' This holds good not only for the savages of the tropics. 

-* Bickmore, loc, cit p. 278. 

* Niebuhr, loc, cit, p. 151. ® Heriot, loc, cit. p. 337. 

L 2 


To a certain extent, the like is true of the agricultural 
classes of Europe. A peasant's wife helps her husband in the 
field, tends the cattle, and takes part in the fishing. She cooks 
and washes, sews, spins, and weaves. In a word, she does many- 
useful things about which women of the well-off classes never 
think of troubling themselves. Hence in Russia, as we are 
informed by M. Pietro Semenow, the small agriculturists, 
who form an enormous proportion of the population, are in 
the habit of arranging for the marriage of their sons at as 
early an age as possible in order to secure an additional 
female labourer.^ 

Even in cities it is not among the poorest classes that celi- 
bacy is most frequent. A "gentleman," before marrying, 
thinks it necessary to have an income of which a mere frac- 
tion would suffice for a married workman. He has to offer 
his wife a home in accordance with her social positi6n and his 
own ; and unless she brings him some fortune, she contributes 
but little to the support of the family. Professor Vallis has 
made out that, in the nobility and higher bourgeoisie of 
Sweden, only 32 per cent, of the male population and 26 per 
cent, of the female population are married, whilst the aver^es 
for the whole population amount to 34 and 32 per cent, 
respectively.* Some such disproportion must always exist 
when the habits of life are luxurious, and the amount of in- 
come does not correspond to them. And it is obvious that 
women have to suffer from this trouble more than men, the 
life of many of them being comparatively so useless, and their 
pretensions, nevertheless, so high. 

Another reason why the age for marriage has been raised 
by advancing civilization is, that a man requires more time to 
gain his living by intellectual than by material work. Thus, 
miners, tailors, shoemakers, artizans, &c., who earn in youth 
almost as much as in later life, marry, as a rule, earlier than men 
of the professional class.' In most European countries the 
decrease in the number of married people is also partly due to 

' * Forty-sixth Ann. Rep. Reg.-Gen.,' p. ix. 

* A report, in *Nya Pressen,' 1887, no. 339, of a lecture delivered by 
Professor Vallis at Helsingfors. 
5 * Forty-ninth Ann. Rep. Reg.-Gen.,* p. viii. 


the drafting of young men into the army, and their retention 
in it in enforced bachelorhood during the years when nature 
most strongly urges to matrimony. 

Of course these conditions affect directly the marriage age 
only of men, but indirectly they influence that of women 
also. Many fall in love with their future wives long before 
they are able to form a home, and those who marry late 
generally avoid very great disparity of age.^ 

In one respect the average age at which women marry may 
be said to depend directly upon the degree of civilization. 
Dr. Floss has justly pointed out that the ruder a people is, 
and the more exclusively a woman is valued as an object of 
desire, or as a slave, the earlier in life is she generally chosen ;' 
whereas, if marriage becomes a union of souls as well as of 
bodies, the man claims a higher degree of mental maturity 
from the woman he wishes to be his wife. 

At the lower stages of human development, the pleasures 
of life consist chiefly in the satisfaction of natural wants and 
instincts. Hence savages and barbarians scarcely ever dream 
of voluntarily denying themselves " domestic bliss," But, as 
a writer in * The Nation ' says, " by the general diffusion of 
education and culture, by the new inventions and discoveries 
of the age, by the increase of commerce and intercourse 
and wealth, the tastes of men and women have become 
widened, their desires multiplied, new gratifications and 
pleasures have been supplied to them. By this increase of 
the gratifications of existence the relative share of them which 
married life affords has become just so much less. The 
domestic circle does not fill so large a place in life as formerly. 
It is really less important to either man or woman. Married 
life has lost in some measure its advantage over a single life. 
There are so many more pleasures, now, that can be enjoyed as 
well or even better in celibacy."* 

It has further been suggested that the development of the 
mental faculties has made the sexual impulse less powerful. 
That instinct is said to be most excessive in animals which 

* Haushofer, loc, cit pp. 404, et seq. * Ploss, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 384. 
' *Why is Single Life becoming more General?' in *The Nation,' 
vol. vi. p. 190. 


i excel ia inteiligence, the b^uts vhkli arc the most 
ivi'^js, as the asi, the boar, &c bei:^ also the most 
id ;' and M. Forel evat belie%-es that, amocg tbc aots, 
case of miod-power may have led to the sterility of the 
iers.* Idiots, t<xt, are Ldotd to display voy gross sen- 
ity.* Yet the so^estkn that decrease of <^^^"l desire is 
cessaiy attendant upon meotal evolntioQ cannot, so &r as 
low, by any means be ooosidcred scientifically proved, 
igh we may safely say that it, amoi^ primitive men, 
tng was restricted to one season of the year, the sexual 
net became gradually less intense as it became less 
3dicaL A b^faer decree of forethought and self-control 

moreover, to a certain extent put the drag on human 

inally,tliere can be no doubt that the higher development 
xling has helped to increase the number of those who 
tin single. " By the diffusion of a finer culture through- 
thc community," says the above-mentioned writer in ' The 
ion,' " men and women can less easily find any one whom 

are willing to take as a partner for life ; Aeir require- 
ts are more exacting ; tbeir standards of excellence 
icr ; they are less able to find any who can satisfy their 

ideal, and less able to satisfy anybody else's ideal. Men 
women have, too, a livelier sense of the serious and sacred 
acter of the marriage union, and of the high motives from 
:h alone it should be formed. They are less willing to 
ract it from any lower motives."* 

I what direction is the civilized world tending with regard 
lese matters .' Will the number of celibates increase as 
crto, or will there be some backward movement in that 
ect ? A definite answer cannot yet be given, since much 

depend on economical conditions which it is impossible 
resent to foresee. 

sfore this chapter is closed, it may be worth while to 

Valker, ' Beauty,' pp. 34, et seq. 

'Orel, ' Les Fourmis de la Suisse,' quoted in Darwin's ' Life and 

r»,' vol. iii. p. 191. a Ribot, loc. cit. p. 150. 

The Nation," vol. vi. p. 191. 


glance at the curious notion that there is something impure 
and sinful in marriage, as in sexual relations generally. The 
missionary Jellinghaus foUnd this idea prevalent among the 
Munda Kols in Chota Nagpore. • Once when he asked them, 
" May a dog sin ?" the answer was, *' If the dog did not sin, 
how could he breed ?"^ In Efate, of the New Hebrides, 
according to Mr. Macdonald, sexual intercourse is regarded 
as something unclean f and the Tahitians believed that, if a 
man refrained from all connection with women some months 
before death, he passed immediately into his eternal mansion 
without any purificatioa* It is perhaps for a similar reason 
that theShawanese have a great respect for certain persons who 
observe celibacy,* and that, among the Californian Karoks, 
a man who touches a woman within three days before going 
out hunting is believed to miss the quarry.^ Among several 
peoples, as the Brazilian aborigines,® the Papuans of New 
Guinea,'^ certain tribes in Australia,® the Khyoungtha of the 
Chittagong Hills,* and the Khevsurs of the Caucasus,^® con- " 
tinence is required from newly married people for some time 
after marriage. The same is the case with several peoples of 
Aryan origin ; and Dr. v. Schroeder even believes that this 
custom can be traced back to the primitive times of the 
Indo-European race." In ancient Mexico, the Mazatek bride- 
groom kept apart from the bride during the first fifteen days 
of his wedded life, both spending the time in fasting and pe- 
nance.^ In Greenland, according to Egede, if married couples 
had children before a year was past, or if they had large 
families, they were blamed, and compared to dogs.^* In Fiji, 
husbands and wives do not usually spend the night together^ 

^ Jellinghaus, in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. iii. p. 367, 

* Macdonald, * Oceania,' p. 181. ^ Cook, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 164. 

* Ashe, loc, cit. p. 250. * Powers, loc, cit, p. 31. 

* V. Martius, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 113. 

'' Guillemard, *The Cruise of the Marchesa^ p. 389. Kohler, in 
* Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss./vol. vii. p. 372. 

* Dawson, loc, cit. p. 32. Curr, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 245. 

* Lewin, loc. cit. p. 130. 

*® Kohler, in * Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. v. p. 343. 

** Schroeder, * Die Hochzeitsgebrauche der Esten,' pp. 192 — 194. 

" Bancroft, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 261. '^ Egede, loc. cit. p. 143, note. 


except as it were by stealth ; it is quite contrary to Fijian 
ideas of delicacy that they should sleep under the same roof. 
Thus a man spends the day with his family, but absents 
himself on the approach of night.^ Speaking of certain 
American Indians, Lafitau remarks, '* lis n'osent aller dans 
les cabanes particuli^res oil habitent leurs Spouses, que 
durant Tobscurit^ de la nuit; . . . ce seroit une action 
extraordinaire de s'y pr&enter de jour." * Moreover, in spite 
of the great licentiousness of many savage races, a veil of 
modesty, however transparent, is generally drawn over the 
relations of the sexes.® 

The same notion of impurity doubtless explains the fact 
that certain persons devoted to religion have to live a 
single life. In the Marquesas Islands, no one could become a 
priest without having lived chastely for several years pre- 
viously.* In Patagonia, according to Falkner, the male 
wizards were not allowed to marry,* and the same prohibition 
applied to the priests of the Mosquito Indians and the ancient 
Mexicans.^ In Peru, there were virgins dedicated to the Sun, 
who lived in seclusion to the end of their lives ; and besides the 
virgins who professed perpetual virginity in the monasteries, 
there were other women, of the blood royal, who led the same 
life in their own houses, having taken a vow of chastity. 
" These women," says Garcilasso de la Vega, " were held in 
great veneration for their chastity and purity, and, as a mark 
of worship and respect, they were called ' Occlo,' which was a 
name held sacred in their idolatry."^ In Mexico, also, certain 
religious women were bound to chastity, although their pro- 
fession was but for one year. Speaking of these nuns, the 
pious Father Acosta remarks, ** The devill hath desired to be 

^ Seemann, ' Mission to Viti,' p. 191. * Lafitau, loc. ciL vol. i. p. 576. 

5 Cf, Carver, loc. ciL p. 241 (Naudowessies) ; Lumholtz, loc, cit, p. 345 
(natives of Queensland) ; Kotzebue, loc. cit vol. iii. p. 172 (people of 
Radack); Schellong, in *Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. xxi. p. 18 (Papuans of 
Finschhafen) ; Riedel, loc. cit. p. 96 (Alfura of Ceram) ; Man, in ' Jour. 
Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xii. p. 94 (Andamanese). 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. vol. vi. p. 387. ^ Falkner, loc. cit. p. 117. 

® Bancroft, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 734. Waitz, vol. iv. p. 152. 

7 Garcilasso de la Vega, loc. cit. vol. i. pp. 291 — 299, 305. 


served by them that observe Virginitie, not that chastitie is 
pleasing unto him, for he is an uncleane spirite, but for the 
desire he hath to take from the great God, as much as in him 
lieth, this glory to be served with cleanness and integrity." ^ 
Justinus tells us of Persian Sun priestesses who, like the 
Roman vestals and certain Greek priestesses, were obliged to 
refrain from intercourse with men f and, according to Pompo- 
nius Mela, the nine priestesses of the oracle of a Gallic deity 
in Sena were devoted to perpetual virginity.* 

The Buddhistic doctrine teaches that lust and ignorance 
are the two great causes of the misery of life, and that we 
should therefore suppress lust and remove ignorance. We 
read in the ' Dhammika-Sutta ' that *' a wise man should avoid 
married life as if it were a burning pit of live coals."* Sensu- 
ality is altc^ether incompatible with wisdom and holiness. 
According to the legend, Buddha's mother, who was the best 
and purest of the daughters of men, had no other sons, and 
her conception was due to supernatural causes.^ And one 
of the fundamental duties of monastic life, by an infringe- 
ment of which the guilty person brings about his inevitable 
expulsion from Buddha's Order, is, that *' an ordained monk 
may not have sexual intercourse, not even with an animal. 
The monk who has sexual intercourse is no longer a monk."« 
Mr. Wilson, indeed, states that, in Tibet, some sects of the 
Lamas are allowed to marry ; but those who do not are con- 
sidered more holy. And in every sect the nuns must take a 
vow of absolute continence.^ Again, the Chinese laws enjoin 
celibacy upon all priests, Buddhist or Taouist.^ 

In India, where, according to Sir Monier Williams, married 
life has been more universally honoured than in any other 

^ Acosta, loc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 333, et seq, 

* *Das Ausland,' 1875, p. 307. 

' Pomponius Mela, loc, cit, book iii. ch. 6. 
^ Monier Williams, ' Buddhism,' pp. 99, 88. 

* Rhys Davids, 'Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion, 
p. 148. • Oldenburg, * Buddha/ pp. 350, et seq, 

7 Wilson, loc. cit, p. 213, 

* Medhurst, in * Trans. Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,' vol. iv. p. 18. 


country of the world, celibacy has, nevertheless, in instances 
of extraordinary sanctity, always commanded respect^ 
" Those of their Sanny^is," says Dubois, " who are known to 
lead their lives in perfect celibacy, receive, on that account, 
marks of distinguished honour and respect" But the single 
state, which is allowed to those who devote themselves to a 
life of contemplation, is not tolerated in any class of 

Among a small class of Hebrews, too, the idea that marriage 
is impure gradually took root. The Essenes, says Josephus, 
*' reject pleasures as an evil, but esteem continence and the con- 
quest over our passions to be virtue. They neglect wedlock."* 
This doctrine exercised no influence upon Judaism, but pro- 
bably much upon Christianity. St Paul held celibacy to be 
preferable to marriage: — " He that giveth his virgin in marriage 
doeth well," he says ; *^ but he that giveth her not in marriage 
doeth better."* Yet, as for most men continence is not 
possible, marriage is for them not only a right but a duty. 
" It is good for a man not to touch a woman ; nevertheless, 
to avoid fornication, let each man have his own wife, and let 
each woman have her own husband. ... If they (the un- 
married and widows) cannot contain, let them marry : for it is 
better to marry than to bum."* A much stronger opinion as 
to the superiority of celibacy is expressed by most of the 
Fathers of the Church. Origen thought marriage profane and 
impure. Tertullian says that celibacy must be chosen, even 
if mankind should perish. According to St. Augustine, the 
unmarried children will shine in heaven as beaming stars, 
whilst their parents will look like the dim ones.^ Indeed, as 
Mr. Lecky observes, the cardinal virtue of the religious type 
became the absolute suppression of the whole sensual side of 
our nature.^ It was a favourite opinion among the Fathers 

' Monier Williams, * Buddhism,* p. 88. 
' Dubois, loc. ciL pp. 99, et seg, 

' Josephus, '*IovdalK^ SKwris,* book ii. ch. 8. § 2. Solinus, loc. cit, ch. xxxv. 
§§ 9> ^^ ^^9' * St Paul, * I Corinthians,' ch. vii. v. 38. 

* Ibid,^ ch. vii. vv. i, 2, 9. ® Mayer, loc, cii, vol. ii. pp. 289, et seq. 
' Lecky, * History of European Morals/ vol. ii. p. 122. 


that, if Adam had preserved his obedience to the Creator, 
he would have lived for ever in a state of virgin purity, and 
that some harmless mode of vegetation might have peopled 
paradise with a race of innocent and immortal beings. The 
use of marriage was in fact permitted to his fallen posterity 
only as a necessary expedient for the continuance of the 
human species, and as a restraint, however imperfect, on the 
natural licentiousness of desire,^ But, though it may be 
marriage that fills the earth, says St. Jerome, it is virginity 
that replenishes heaven.* 

These opinions led by degrees to the obligatory celibacy of 
the secular and regular clergy. The New Testament gives 
us no intimation that, during the lifetime of the apostles, 
monastic vows were taken by men of any age, or by unmarried 
women, and hardly any of the apostles themselves were 
celibates.* But gradually, as continence came to be regarded 
as a cardinal virtue, and celibacy as the nearest approach to 
the Divine perfection, a notion that the married state is not 
consistent with the functions of the clergy became general. 
As early as the end of the fourth century, the continence of 
the higher grades of ecclesiastics was insisted on by a Roman 
synod, but no definite punishment was ordered for its viola- 
tion.* Gregory VII. was the first who prescribed with 
sufficient force the celibacy of the clergy. Yet, in many 
countries, it was so strenuously resisted, that it could not be 
carried through till late in the thirteenth century.* 

As for the origin of this notion of sexual uncleanness, it 
may perhaps be connected with the instinctive feeling, to be 
dealt with later on, against intercourse between members of 
the same family or household. Experience, I think, tends to 
prove that there exists a close association between these two 
feelings, which shows itself in many ways. Sexual love is 

* Gibbon, loc, cit vol. i. pp. 318, ^/ seq. 

* Draper, * History of the Intellectual Development of Europe,* vol. i. 
p. 415. ^ Fulton, loc. cit. pp. 140, 142. 

* Lea, * Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church,' p. 66. 

* Gieseler, * Text-Book of Ecclesiastical History,* vol. ii. p. 275. 



entirely banished from the sphere of domestic life, and it is 
reasonable to suppose, therefore, that when it appears in other 
relations, an association of ideas attaches a notion of impurity 
to the desire and a notion of shame to its gratification. 
Evidently, also, the religious enforcement of celibacy is 
intimately allied to the abhorrence of every enjoyment which 
is considered to degrade the spiritual nature of man. 



Speaking of the male and female reproductive cells of 
plants, Professor Sachs remarks that, wherever we are able to 
observe an external difference between the two, the male cell 
behaves actively in the union, the female passively.^ In this 
respect there is an analogy between plants and many of the 
lower animals. In the case of some lowly-organized animals, 
which are permanently affixed to the same spot, the male 
element is invariably brought to the female. There are other 
instances in which the females alone are fixed, and the males 
must be the seekers. Even when the males and females of a 
species are both free, it is almost always the males that first 
approach the females.' 

As Mr. Darwin points out, we can see the reason why, in 
the first instance, the male plays the active part : — " Even if 
the ova were detached before fertilization, and did not require 
subsequent nourishment or protection, there would yet be 
greater difficulty in transporting them than the male element, 
because, being larger than the latter, they are produced in far 
smaller numbers."' He adds, however, that, with respect to 
forms of which the progenitors were primordially free, it is 
difficult to understand why the males should invariably have 
acquired the habit of approaching the females, instead of 
being approached by them. Perhaps the explanation may 

* Sachs, * Text- Book of Botany,' p. 897. 

* Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. i. pp. 343, et seq, 
' Jlnd.yYo\, i. p. 343. 


be that the seeker is more exposed to danger than the one 
sought after, and that the death of a male at the pairing time 
is less disadvantageous for the existence of the species than 
the death of a female. At any rate, we may say with 
Mr. Darwin that it is necessary that the males should be 
endowed with strong passions in order that they may be 
efficient seekers; and the acquirement of such passions would 
naturally follow from the more eager males leaving a lai^er 
number of offspring than the less eager.* 

The rule holds good for the human race, the man generally 
playing a more active, the woman a more passive, part in 
courtship. The latter, as it has been said, " requires to be 
courted." Yet, curiously enough, there are a few peoples 
among whom the reverse seems to be the case, just as, among 
the lower animals also, there are some species of which the 
females are the courters.* Among the Moquis in New 
Mexico, according to Dr. Broeck, " instead of the swain 
asking the hand of the fair one, she selects the young man 
who is to her fancy, and then her father proposes the match 
to the sire of the lucky youth."* In Paraguay, we are told, 
the women were generally endowed with stronger passions 
than the men,* and were allowed to make proposals;* and 
among the Garos, according to Colonel Dalton, it is not only 
the privilege but even the duty of the girl to speak first, any 
infringement of this rule being summarily and severely 
punished. " If a male makes advances to a girl," he says, 
"and the latter, rejecting them, chooses also to tell her 
friends that such tenders of affection have been made to 
her, it is looked on as an insult to the whole * mahdri ' (mother- 
hood) to which the girl belongs, a stain only to be obliterated 
by the blood of pigs, and liberal libations of beer at the 
expense of the * mahdri ' to which the man belongs."* Colonel 

* Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 344. 

^ ' Sir R. Heron states that with peafowl, the first advances are always 
made by the female ; something of the same kind takes place, according 
to Audubon, with the older females of the wild turkey ' {ibid,^ vol. ii. 

P- 134). 
' Schoolcraft, loc. ciL vol. iv. p. 86. * Rengger, loc, cit. p. 1 1. 

* Moore, loc, cit. p. 261. * Dalton, loc, ciL p. 64. 


Dalton was told that, among the Bbuiyas also, the proposal of 
marriage came in the first place from the girl;^ and in 
Polynesia,^ as also among the Kafirs of Natal ' and certain 
Indian tribes of Oregon,^ the same is sometimes the case. 
It often happens that the parents of both parties make up 
the match ; and among several peoples the man pays his suit 
by proxy. But these instances are of no particular import- 

In most animal species courtship takes place in nearly the 
same way. During the season of love, the males even of the 
most timid animals engage in desperate combats with each 
other for the possession of the female, and she, although 
comparatively passive, nevertheless often exercises a choice, 
selecting one of the rivals. This fighting for a female occurs 
even among Insects,^ and is of universal prevalence in the order 
of the Vertebrata. We may, with Haeckel, regard it as a 
modification and a special kind of the struggle for existence.* 

There can be no doubt that our primeval human ancestors 
had, in the same way, to combat for their brides. Even now 
this kind of courtship is far from being unknown. Speaking 
of the Northern Indians, Heame states that " it has ever been 
the custom among those people for the men to wrestle for 
any woman to whom they are attached ; and, of course, the 
strongest party always carries off the prize. A weak man, 
unless he be a good hunter and well-beloved, is seldom 
permitted to keep a wife that a stronger man thinks worth his 
notice. . . . This custom prevails throughout all their tribes, 
and causes a great spirit of emulation among their youth, who 
are upon all occasions, from their childhood, trying their 
strength and skill in wrestling."^ Richardson also saw, more 
than once,, a stronger man assert his right to take the wife of 
a weaker countryman. " Any one," he says, " may challenge 

^ Dalton, loc. cit. p. 142. Cf, ibid., p. 233 (Mudsfs). 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit voLvi. p. 127. 
' Shooter, * The Kafirs of Natal,' p. 52. 

* Wilkes, ioc, cit, vol. iv. p. 457. 

* Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' vol. i. pp. 459, 501. 

* Haeckel, ' Generelle Morphologie,' vol. ii. p. 244. 
' Hearne, loc. cit. pp. 104, et seq. 


another to wrestle, and, if he overcomes, may carry off his wife 
as the prize. . . • The bereaved husband meets his loss with the 
resignation which custom prescribes in such a case, and seeks 
his revenge by taking the wife of another man weaker than 
himself."^ With reference to the Slave Indians, Mr. Hooper 
says, " If a man desire to despoil his neighbour of his wifej a 
trial of strength of a curious nature ensues : they seize each 
other by the hair, which is worn long and flowing, and thtis 
strive for the mastery, until one or another cries peccavu 
Should the victor be the envious man, he has to pay a certain 
number of skins for the husband-changing woman."^ 

Among the Californians also, conflicting claims sometimes 
arise between two or more men in regard to a woman ; and, 
among the Patwin, it occasionally happened that men who 
had a quarrel about a woman fought a duel with bows and 
arrows at long distances.' In Mexico, a duel often decided 
the conflict between two competing suitors.* Among the 
Guanas, according to Azara, the men frequently do not marry 
till they are twenty years old or more, as before that age 
they cannot conquer their rivals.^ Among the Muras, the 
wives are most commonly gained in a combat with fists 
between all the lovers of the girl ; and the same is the case 
with the Passes.? 

Among the Australian aborigines, quarrels are perhaps for 
the most part occasioned by "the fair sex."^ Speaking of the 
natives near Herbert Vale, Northern Queensland, Herr 
Lumholtz says that, " if a woman is good-looking, all the 
men want her, and the one who is most influential) or who is 
the strongest, is accordingly generally the victor." ^ Hence, 
the majority of the young men must wait a long time before 

^ Richardson, loc, cit» voL ii. pp. 24, et seq. Cf. Mackenzie, loc, di, 
p. 145 ; Ross, in ' Smith. Rep.,' 1866, p. 310. 

* Hooper, loc. cit, p. 303. Cf. Nansen, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 319 

^ Schoolcraft, /f?^. cit, vol. iv. p. 224. Powers, loc. ciL pp. 221, etseq. 

* Waitz, loc. ciL vol. iv. p. 132. * Azara, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 94. 
® V. Martius, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 412, 509. 

' Wilkes, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 195. Bastian, * Rechtsverhaltnisse,' p. 176, 
note I. Salvado, * Mdmoires,* p. 279. 

* Lumholtz, loc, cit, p. 213. 


they get wives, as they have not the courage to fight the 
requisite duel for one with an older man.^ In the tribes of 
Western Victoria, described by Mr. Dawson, a young chief 
ivho cannot get a wife, and falls in love with one belonging to 
a chief who has more than two, can, with her consent, chal- 
lenge the husband to single combat, and, if the husband is 
defeated, the conqueror makes her his legal wife.* Narcisse 
Peltier, who, during seventeen years was detained by a tribe 
of Queensland Australians, states that the men " not unfre- 
quently fight with spears for the possession of a woman."* 

In New Zealand, if a girl had two suitors with equal pre- 
tensions, a kind of " pulling-match " was arranged in which 
the girl's arms were dragged by each of the suitors in opposite 
directions, the stronger man being the victor ;* and, according 
to the Rev. R. Taylor, there is in the Maori language even a 
special term for denoting such a struggle.* In Samoa, as 
also in the Fiji Islands, women have always been one of the 
chief causes of fighting ; • and of the natives of Makin, of the 
King^mill Group, Mr. Wood assures us that " they have no 
wars, and very few arms, and seldom quarrel except about 
their women." ^ 

Among the South African Bushmans, " the stronger man 
will sometimes take away the wife of the weaker." * The 
people of WadaY are notorious for their desperate fights for 
women ; and, among the young men of Baghirmi, bloody feuds 
between rivals are far from being of rare occurrence. • 

In the islands outside Kamchatka there prevailed formerly 
a very curious custom, as reported by Steller. If a husband 
found that a rival had been with his wife, he would admit 
that the rival had at least an equal claim to her. " Let us 
try, then," he would say, " which of us has the greater right, 
and shall have her." After that they would take off their 

1 Lumholtz, loc, cit. p. 184. 

* Dawson, loc, cit, p. 36. Cf, Ridley, * The Aborigines of Australia/ 
p. 6. 

* Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. p. 601. 

* Dieffenbach, ' Travels in New Zealand,* vol. ii. pp. 36, ef seq. 

* Taylor, loc. cit. p. 337. 

** Pritchard, loc. cit. pp. 55, 269. ^ Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. v. p. 72. 

^ Lichtenstein, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 48. ^ Barth, ' Reisen/ vol. iii. p. 352. 



clothes and begin to beat each other's backs with sticks ; and 
he who first fell to the ground, unable to bear any more 
blows, lost his right to the woman. ^ 

Among the ancient Hindus, says Mr. Samuelson, " it was a 
custom in royal circles, when a princess became marriageable, 
for a tournament to be held, and the victor was chosen by the 
princess as her husband." This custom was known as the 
" Swayamvara," or " Maiden's Choice," and it is often men- 
tioned in the ancient legends.^ 

In Greek legends and myths, we meet with several in- 
stances of fighting or emulation for women. Pausanias tells 
us that Danaus established a race for his daughters, and that 
" he that outran all the rest was to have the first choice, and 
take her whom he most approved ; he that was next in order 
was to have the second choice, and so on to the last ; and 
those that had no suitors, were ordered to wait till new ones 
came to the course." * According to Pindar, Antaeus, father 
of a fair-haired and greatly-praised daughter, who had many 
suitors, stationed the whole conjpany of them at the end of 
the race-course, saying that he should have her for his bride 
who should prove foremost in the race and first touch her 
garments.* Icarus likewise proposed a race for the suitors 
of Penelope ;* and, as Mr. Hamilton remarks, "the triumph 
of Odysseus over the Suitors is the real end of the Odyssey."'* 

According to Dr. Krauss, the South Slavonian youths on 
Palm Sunday, the day for presentiments of love, wrestle with 
each other, believing that he who proves the stronger will get 
the prettier wife.^ Arthur Young informs us of the following 
strange custom which prevailed in the interior of Ireland in 
his time : — " There is a very ancient custom here," he says, 
" for a number of country neighbours among the poor people, 
to fix upon some young woman that ought, as they think, to 
be married ; they also agree upon a young fellow as a proper 

^ Steller, loc, ciL p. 348. Cf, ' Das Ausland,' 1875, P- 738 (Tanguts). 

* Samuelson, * India, Past and Present,' p. 48. 
3 Pausanias, loc, cil, book iii. ch. 12. 

* Pindar, ^UvOia,^ ode ix. v. 117. * Pausanias, book iii. ch. 12. 

*» * Homer's Odyssey, Books xxi. — xxiv.' (edited by Hamilton), Preface, 
p. V. "^ Krauss, loc, cit, pp. 163, ^/ seq. 



— — — 

husband for her ; this determined, they send to the fair one's 
cabin to inform her that on the Sunday following * she is to 
be horsed/ that is, carried on men's backs. She must then 
provide whisky and cider for a treat, as all will pay her a 
visit after mass for a hurling match. As soon as she is 
horsed, the hurling begins, in which the young fellow ap- 
pointed for her husband has the eyes of all the company 
fixed on him : if he comes off conqueror, he is certainly 
married to the girl ; but if another is victorious, he as 
certainly loses her, for she is the prize of the victor. . . . Some- 
times one barony hurls against another, but a marriageable 
girl is always the prize." ^ 

The sexual struggle in the animal kingdom is not always 
of a violent kind. As Mr. Darwin has pointed out, males 
often try by peaceful emulation to charm the female. In 
many species of birds the male seems to endeavour to gain 
his bride by displaying his colours and ornaments before her, 
or exciting her by his love-notes, songs, and antics. But 
among the lower Mammals he wins her, apparently, much 
more through the law of battle than through the display of 
his charms.* There can scarcely be any doubt that the same 
was the case with primitive men ; but we need not mount 
many steps of human progress to find that courtship involves 
something more than a mere act of strength or courage on 
the part of the male. It is not only in civilized countries 
that it often means a prolonged making of love to the 
woman. Mariner's words with reference to the women of 
Tonga hold true for a great many, not to say all, savage and 
barbarous races now existing. "It must not be supposed," he 
says, " that these women are always easily won ; the greatest 
attentions and most fervent solicitations are sometimes re- 
quisite, even though there be no other lover in the way. This 
happens sometimes from a spirit of coquetry, at other times 
from a dislike to the party, &c."* 

Though generally playing the less active part in courtship, 

' Young, * Tour in Ireland,* in Pinkerton, * Collection of Voyages,' vol. 
iii. p. 860. * Darwin, * The Descent of .Man,' vol. ii. p. 257. 

3 \fartin, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 174. Cf, Fritsch, loc. cit, p. 445 (Bushmans). 

M 2 


the woman does not by any means indulge in complete 
passivity. Mr. Hooper tells us that, among the Indians at 
James's Bay, " two young Indian women were observed some 
years ago in violent conflict. . . . After a lengthened 
and determined struggle the weakest succumbed to the 
superior prowess of her fortunate adversary. It appeared that 
these girls were in love with the same man, and had self- 
instituted this mode of deciding their claims."^ Among the 
Wintun of California, according to Mr. Powers, when any 
man other than a chief attempts to introduce into his wig- 
wam a second partner of his bosom, the two women dispute 
for the supremacy, often in a desperate pitched battle with 
sharp stones ; " they maul each other's faces with savage 
violence, and if one is knocked down her friends assist her to 
regain her feet, and the brutal combat is renewed until one or 
the other is driven from the wigwam."^ Peltier states that, in 
the Australian tribe already referred to, the women, of whom 
from two to five commonly belong to each man, fight among 
themselves about him, " their weapons being heavy staves, 
with which they beat one another about the head till the 
blood flows."* In the Kingsmill Islands, women sometimes, 
from jealousy, carry a small weapon, watching an opportunity 
of making an attack upon their rivals, desperate fights being 
the consequence;* and, among the Kamchadales also, the 
females are said to have fought for the males. ^ But far more 
commonly women try to secure men's love by coquetry or 
the display of their charms. Finally, whilst the men are 
generally the courters, the women may in many, perhaps 
most cases, accept or refuse their proposals at pleasure. 

The next chapter will be devoted to an account of some 
of the most common means by which the sexes endeavour, 
or formerly endeavoured, to make themselves attractive to one 
another, and to stimulate each other's passions. Then we shall 
see how far woman has the liberty of disposing of her own 
hand, and, at the same time, note cases in which the man also, 
with regard to his marriage, has to submit to some other's will. 

* Hooper, loc, cit p. 390. ^ Powers, loc. ciL pp. 238, et seq. 
' Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. pp. 601, et seq. 

* Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. v. p. 90. * Klemm, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 207. 




The desire for self-decoration, although a specifically 
human quality, is exceedingly old. There are peoples destitute 
of almost everything which we regard as necessaries of life, 
but there is no people so rude as not to take pleasure in orna- 
ments. The ancient barbarians who inhabited the south of 
Europe at the same time as the reindeer and the mammoth, 
brought to their caves brilliant and ornamental objects.^ The 
women of the utterly wretched Veddahs in Ceylon decorate 
themselves with necklaces of brass beads, and bangles cut 
from the chank shell.* The Fuegians " are content to be 
naked," but " ambitious to be fine."* The Australians, with- 
out taking the slightest pride in their appearance, so far as 
neatness or cleanliness is concerned, are yet very vain of their 
own rude decorations.* And of the rude Tasmanians, Cook 
tells us that they had no wish to obtain useful articles, but 
were eager to secure anything ornamental. 

" Great as is the vanity of the civilized," says Mr. Spencer, 
" it is exceeded by that of the uncivilized."*^ The predilection 
of savages for ornaments has been sufficiently shown by 
travellers in almost every part of the world. Feathers and 
beads of different colours, flowers, rings, anklets, and bracelets 
are common embellishments. A fully-equipped Santal belle, 

* Spencer, ' The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. p. 64. 
2 Emerson Tennent, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 443. 

' Hawkesworth, 'Voyages,' vol. ii. p. 55. 

* Eyre, loc, cii. vol. ii. p. 209. 
^ Spencer, vol. i. p. 64. 


for instance, carries two anklets, and perhaps twelve bracelets, 
and a necklace weighing a pound, the total weight of orna- 
ments on her person amounting to thirty-four pounds of bell 
metal, — " a greater weight," says Captain Sherwill, " than one 
of our drawing-room belles could well lift."^ Besides this, the 
body is transformed in various ways. The lips, the sides of 
the nose, and the lobes of the ear are especially ill-treated. 
Hardly any woman in Eastern Central Africa is without a 
lip-ring ; they say it makes them look pretty, and " the bigger 
the ring, the more they value themselves ! "* The Shulis bore 
a hole in the under-lip and insert in it a piece of crystal three 
or four inches long, which sways about as they speak ;' and 
similar customs are common among other African peoples,* 
as also in some parts of North and South America.^ The 
Papuans perforate the septum of the nose and insert in the 
hole sticks, claws of birds, &c.* The most common practice is 
to pierce, enlarge, or somehow mutilate the ear-lobes. Certain 
North American Indians,^ the Arecunas and Botocudos of 
South America,® and the East African Wa-taita* pull them 
down almost to the shoulders. Among the*Easter Islanders, 
says Beechey, " the lobe, deprived of its ear-ring, hangs dang- 
ling against the neck, and has a very disagreeable appearance, 
particularly when wet. It is sometimes so long as to be 
greatly in the way ; to obviate which, they pass the lobe over 
the upper part of the ear, or more rarely, fasten one lobe to 
the other, at the back of the head."^® 

Scarcely less subject to mutilations are the teeth. In the 
Malay Archipelago, the filing and blackening of the teeth are 

* Sherwill, *Tour through the Rdjmahal Hills,' in *Jour. As. Soc. 
Bengal/ vol. xx. p. 584. * Macdonald, * Africana,' vol. L p. 17. 

^ Wilson and Felkin, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 62. 

* Barth, ' Reisen,' vol. ii. p. 514. Livingstone, loc. cit. p. 577. 

* V. Langsdorf, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 115. v. Martins, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 351. 
Wallace, ' Travels on the Amazon,' p. 514. 

* Finsch, loc. cit, p. 39. * Das Ausland,' 1S81, p. 26. Waitz-Gerland, 
loc. cit. vol. vi. pp. 569, et seq. 

' Carver, loc. cit. p. 227. * v. Martins, vol. i. pp. 620, 319. 

® Johnston, loc. cit. pp. 429, et seq. 

*® Beechey, ' Voyage to the Pacific,' vol. i. p. 38. For the artificial en- 
largement of the ear-lobe, see also Park Harrison, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,* 
vol. ii. pp. 190-198. 


thought to produce a most beautiful result, white teeth being 
in great disesteem.^ The Australians often knock out one 
or two front teeth of the upper jaw, and several tribes in New 
Guinea file their teeth sharp. ^ Again, the Damaras file the 
middle teeth in the upper jaw into the form of a swallow's 
tail, and knock out four teeth in the lower jaw ; whilst one of the 
Makalaka tribes, north of the Zambesi, and the Matong^s, 
on its bank, "break out their top incisor-teeth from the 
sheerest vanity. Their women say that it is only horses that 
eat with all their teeth, and that men ought not to eat like 

Many savage men take most pride in the hair of the head. 
Now it is painted in a showy manner, now decorated with 
beads and tinsel, now combed and arranged with the most ex- 
quisite care. The Kandhs have their hair, which is worn very 
long, drawn forward and rolled up till it looks like a horn pro- 
jecting from between the eyes. Around this it is their delight 
to wear a piece of red cloth, and they insert the feathers of 
favourite birds, as also a pipe, comb, &c.* The men of Tana, 
of the New Hebrides, wear their hair " twelve and eighteen 
inches long, and have it divided into some six or seven 
hundred little locks or tresses ; "^ and, among the Latuka, a 
man requires a period of from eight to ten years to perfect his 
coiflTure.* In North America, Hearne saw several men, about 
six feet high, who had preserved " a single lock of their hair 
that, when let down, would trail on the ground as they walked."^ 
Other Indians practise the custom of shaving the head and 
ornamenting it with the crest of deer's hairs ; and wigs are 
used by several savage peoples. The Indians of Guiana, the 
Fuegians, Chavantes, Uaup^s,* and other tribes are in the 
habit of pulling out their eyebrows. 

' Crawfurd, loc, ciL vol. i. pp. 216, tf/ seq, 

* Sturt, * Expedition into Central Australia,' vol. ii. pp. 9, 61. Waitz- 
Gerland, loc. ciL vol. vi. p. 570. ^ Holub, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 259. 

* Dalton, loc, cit. p. 301. * Turner, * Samoa,' p. 308. 

• Baker, *The Albert N'yanza,' vol. i. p. 198. 

^ Hearne, loc. cit. p. 306, note. ® Catlin, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 23. 

• Brett, loc. cit. p. 343. King and Fitzroy, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 138. 
v. Martius, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 271. Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' 

p. 483. 


Scarcely anything has a greater attraction for the savage 
mind than showy colours. "No matter," says Dr. Holub, 
" how ill a travelled in the Marutse district may be, and how 
many bearers he may require, if he only has a good stock of 
blue beads he may always be sure of commanding the best 
attention and of securing the amplest services ; his beads will 
prove an attraction irresistible to sovereign and subject, to 
man, woman, and child, to freeman and bondman alike." ^ 
The practice of ornamenting one's self with gaudy bawbles 
and painting the body with conspicuous colours is, indeed, 
extremely prevalent. Of Santal men at a feast, Sir W. Hunter 
says that, " if all the colours of the rainbow were not displayed 
by them, certainly the hedgehog, the peacock, and a variety of 
the feathered tribe had been laid under contribution in order 
to supply the young Santal beaux with plumes."^ Especially 
does the savage man delight in paint. Red ochre is generally 
looked upon as the chief embellishment, whilst, of the other 
colours, black and white are probably most in use. The 
Naudowessies paint their faces red and black, "which they 
esteem as greatly ornamental." ^ Among the GuaycurQs, many 
men paint their bodies half red, half white.* Throughout the 
Australian continent the natives stain themselves with black, 
red, yellow, and white.*^ In Fiji, a small quantity of vermilion 
is esteemed " as the greatest possible acquisition."* In New 
Zealand, the lips of both sexes are generally dyed blue ; and, in 
Santa Cruz, or Egmont Island, Labillardifcre observed with 
surprise that " there was very much diffused a fondness for white 
hair, which formed a striking contrast to the colour of their 

" Not one great country can be named," Mr. Darwin says, 
" from the Polar regions in the north to New Zealand in the 
south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo themselves."® 

* Holub, loc. dt. vol. ii. p. 351. 

* Hunter, * Rural Bengal,' vol. i. p. 185. ^, Carver, loc, cit, p. 227. 

* V. Martius, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 230. 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. vi. p. 738. 
*» Wilkes, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 356. 

7 Angas, * Savage Life,' vol. i. p. 316. Labillardi^re, * Voyage in Search 
of La P^rouse,' vol ii. p. 266. 
^ Darwin, *The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 369. 


This practice was followed by the ancient Assyrians, Britons, 
and Thracians,^ as it is followed by most savages still. And 
it may be said without exaggeration that there is no visible 
part of the human body, except the eye-ball, that has escaped 
from being disfigured in this way. Some of the Easter 
Islanders tattoo their foreheads in arched lines, as also the 
edges of their ears, and the fleshy part of their lips.^ The 
Abyssinian women occasionally prick their gums entirely 
blue.* The Mundrucus tattooed even their eyelids.* And, 
speaking of the tattooing of the Sandwich Islanders, Freycinet 
remarks, " Aucune partie de leur corps n'en est exempte ; le 
nez, les oreilles, les paupieres, le sommet de la t6te, le bout de 
la langue m^me dans quelques circonstances, en sont sur- 
charges non moins que la poitrine, le dos, les jambes, les bras 
et la paume des mains."* 

Often cicatrices are made in the skin, without any colouring 
matter being used. Some tribes of Madagascar, for instance, 
are in the habit of making marks, " which are intended to be 
ornamental," by slight incisions in the skin.* The natives of 
Tana ornament themselves by " cutting or burning some rude 
device of a leaf or a fish on the breast, or upper part of the 
arm."^ The Australians throughout the continent scar their 
persons, as Mr. Curr assures us, only as a means of decoration.® 
And, in Fiji, " rows of wart-like spots are burned along the 
arms and backs of the women, which they and their admirers 
call ornamental."® 

It has been suggested that many of these practices sprang 
from other motives than a desire for decoration ; and some 
are said to have had a religious origin. The Australian 
Dieyerie, on being asked why he knocks out two front teeth 
of the upper jaw of his children, can answer only that, when 
they were created, the Muramura, a good spirit, thus dis- 
figured the first child, and, pleased at the sight, commanded 

' LacassagnCy ' Les tatouages,' p. 9. Cassar, loc, cit. book v. ch. 14. 
Herodotus, loc, cit, book v. ch. 6. * Becchcy, loc» cit. vol. i. p. 39. 

' Parkyns, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 29. * Agassiz, * Journey in Brazil/ p. 32a. 

* Freycinet, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 580. Cf, Beechey, vol. i. p. 140. 

* Sibree, loc, cit, p. 210. ^ Turner, * Samoa,' p. 310. 

* Curr, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 475. 

^ Williams and Calvert, *Fiji and the Fijians,' p. 137. 


that the like should be done to every male or female child for 
ever after-^ The Pelew Islanders believe that the perforation 
of the septum of the nose is necessary for winning eternal 
bliss f and the Nicaraguans say that their ancestors were in- 
structed by the gods to flatten the children's heads.* Again, 
in Fiji, it is supposed that the custom of tattooing is in con- 
formity with the appointment of the god Dengei, and that 
its neglect is punished after death.^ A similar idea prevails 
among the Kingsmill Islanders and Ainos ; ^ and the 
Green landers formerly believed that the heads of those girls 
who had not been deformed by long stitches made with a 
needle and black thread between the eyes, on the forehead, 
and upon the chin, would be turned into train tubs, and 
placed under the lamps in heaven, in the land of souls.^ 
But such tales are not of much importance, as any usage 
practised from time immemorial may easily be ascribed to 
the command of a god. 

Mr. Frazer suggests that several of the practices here men- 
tioned are fundamentally connected with totemism.^ In order 
to put himself more fully under the protection of the totem, 
the clansman, according to Mr. Frazer, is in the habit of 
assimilating himself to it by the arrangement of his hair and 
the mutilation of his body ; and of representing the totem on 
his body by cicatrices, tattooing, or paint. Thus the Buffalo 
clans of the Iowa and Omahas wear two locks of hair in 
imitation of horns ; whilst the Small Bird clan of the Omahas 
" leave a little hair in front, over the forehead, for a bill, and 
some at the back of the head, for the bird's tail, with much 

* Gason, *The Manners and Customs of the Dieyerie Tribe,* in 
Woods, * The Native Tribes of South Australia,' p. 267. 

' * Ymer,' vol iv. pp. 317, ^/ seq, 

' Squier, in * Trans. American Ethn. Soc.,'vol. iii. pt. i. p, 129. 

* Williams and Calvert, loc. ciL p. 138. Pritchard, loc, cit. p. 391. 
Seemann, *Viti,' p. 113. Wilkes, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 355. 

^ Wilkes, vol. v. p. 88. v. Siebold, loc, cit, p. 15. 

* Egede, loc. cit, pp. 132, et seq. Nordenskiold, * Gronland,' p. 468. 

^ A totem is '* a class of material objects which a savage regards with 
superstitious respect, believing that there exists between him aiii. ever>' 
member of the class an intimate and altogether special relation ' (Ffser, 
loc, cit. p. i). 


over each ear for the wings ; " and the Turtle subclan cut off 
all the hair from a boy's head, except six locks which are 
arranged so as to imitate the legs, head, and tail of a turtle. 
The practice of knocking out the upper front teeth at puberty, 
Mr. Frazer continues, is, or was once, probably an imitation 
of the totem ; and so also the bone, reed, or stick which some 
Australian tribes thrust through the nose. The Haidahs of 
Queen Charlotte Islands have always, and the Iroquois com- 
monly, their totems tattooed on their persons, and certain 
other tribes have on their bodies tattooed figures of animals, 
which Mr. Frazer thinks likely to be totem marks. Accord- 
ing to one authority, the raised cicatrices of the Australians 
are sometimes arranged in patterns representing the totem ; 
and, among a few peoples, the totem is painted on the person 
of the clansman.^ 

Mr. Frazer's theory is supported by exceedingly few facts, 
whereas there is an enormous mass of cases in which we have 
no right whatever to infer a connection with totemism. It is, 
indeed, impossible to see how most of the practices con- 
sidered in this chapter could have originated in this way. How 
is it possible to explain the knocking out of the upper front 
teeth or the thrusting of a stick through the nose as imitations 
of totem animals ? And how are we to connect the mutila- 
tions of the ears and other parts of the body, and the various 
modes of self-decoration, with totemism ? Since all such prac- 
tices are universally considered to improve the appearance, 
and, as will be shown presently, take place at the same 
period of life, we may justly infer that the cause to which 
they owe their origin is fundamentally one and the same. 
As for tattooing. Professor Gerland assumes that the tattooed 
marks were originally figures of totem animals, though they 
are no longer so ;* but an assumption of that kind is not per- 
missible in a scientific investigation. And even in those rare 
cases, where a connection between tattooing and totemism 
undoubtedly exists, we cannot be sure whether this connec- 
tion is not secondary. At present tattooing is everywhere 
regarded exclusively, or almost exclusively, as a means of 

' Frazer, ioc, ciL pp. 26-30. 

* Waitz- Gerland, Ioc. cit, vol. vi. pp. 36-39. 


decoration, and Cook states expressly that, in the South Sea 
Islands, at the time of their discovery, it was in no way con- 
nected with religion.^ Nor can I agree with Mr. Spencer 
that tattooing and other kinds of mutilation were practised 
originally as a means of expressing subordination to a dead 
ruler or a god.^ Equally without evidence is Mr. Colquhoun's 
opinion that the custom originated in the wish either to make 
a man more fearful in battle, or to render the body invulner- 
able by the tattooing of charms on it.^ 

It is true, no doubt, that this practice subserves various 
ends. Mr. Keyser speaks of a chief in New Guinea who had 
sixty-three blue tattoo lines on his chest, which represented 
the number of enemies he had slain.* Moreover, the tattooed 
marks make it possible for savages to distinguish their own 
clansmen from their enemies;* though I cannot think, with 
Chenier,* that this was their original object. Again, many 
ornaments are really nothing but trophy-badges, and many 
things used for ornaments were at first substitutes for trophies, 
having some resemblance to them f whilst others are carried 
as signs of opulence.® I do not deny, either, that men 
may sometimes paint their bodies in order to inspire their 
enemies with fear in battle, or that the use of red ochre and 
fat is good as a defence against changes of weather, flies, and 
mosquitoes.® Nevertheless, it seems to be beyond doubt that 
men and women began to ornament, mutilate, paint, and 
tattoo themselves chiefly in order to make themselves attract- 
ive to the opposite sex, — that they might court successfully, 
or be courted. 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. vi. p. 38. 

* Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,' vol. ii. p. 72. 
^ Colquhoun, loc, cit, p. 213. 

* Keyser, *Our Cruise to New Guinea,' pp. 44, et seg, 

* Mackenzie, loc, cit, p. cxx. Powers, loc, cit. p. 109. Beechey, loc, cit. 
vol. ii. p. 401. Agassiz, loc, dt. p. 318. v. Martius, loc. cit, vol. i. pp. 484, 
501, &c. ' Das Ausland,' 1875, P' 434- Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 38. 

* Quoted by Heriot, loc. cit. p. 293, note. 
' Spencer, vol. ii. pp. 183-186. 

^ C/.y, Barth, * Ostafrika,' p. 32. 

^ v. Martius, vol. i. pp. 321, 738. * Ymer,' vol. iii. p. 89. Bonwick, ' Daily 
Life of the Tasmanians,' p. 24. Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 159. Heriot, 
P- 305. 


It Is noteworthy that in all parts of the world the desire for 
self-decoration is strongest at the beginning of the age of 
puberty, all the above-named customs being practised most 
zealously at that period of life. Concerning the Dacotahs, 
Mr. Prescott states that both sexes adorn themselves at their 
courtships to make themselves more attractive, and that " the 
young only are addicted to dress." ^ The Orion, according 
to Colonel Dalton, is likewise particular about his personal 
appearance "only so long as he is unmarried," whilst "out of 
the age of ornamentation nothing can be more untidy or unpre- 
possessing than the appearance of the Orion. The ornaments 
are nearly all discarded, hair utterly neglected, and for raiment 
any rags are used. This applies both to males and females of 
middle age." * Among the Let-htas in Indo-China, it is the 
unmarried youths that are profusely bedecked with red and 
white bead necklaces, wild boars' tusks, brass armlets, and a 
broad band of black braid below the knee.^ Speaking of 
the Encounter Bay tribe of South Australia, the Rev. A. 
Meyer says that " the plucking out of the beard and anointing 
with grease and ochre (which belong to the initiatory cere- 
mony) the men may continue if they please till about forty 
years of age, for they consider it ornamental, and fancy that it 
makes them look younger, and gives them an importance in 
the eyes of the women." * And when Mr. Bulmer once asked 
an Australian native why he wore his adorrrments, the native 
answered " that he wore them in order to look well, and to 
make himself agreeable to the women." ^ 

It is when boys or girls approach puberty that, in the north- 
west part of North America, they have their lower lip per- 
forated for the labret ; ^ that, among the American Eskimo, 
the African Masarwas, and certain Australian natives, the 
cartilage between the nostrils is pierced for the reception of 

* Schoolcraft, loc. dL vol. iii. pp. 237, etseq, 

* Dalton, loc, cit. pp. 249, et seq. ' Colquhoun, loc. cit. p. 76. 

* Meyer, loc. cit p. 189. * Brough Smyth, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 275. 
® Armstrong, loc. cit. p. 194. Lisiansky, loc. cit. p. 243. Holmberg, in 

' Acta Soc. Sci. Fennicae,' vol. iv. p. 301. Dixon, loc. cit. p. 187. v. Langs- 
dorf, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 115. Holmberg says expressly that the men 
undergo this operation to make theipselves agreeable to the young 


a piece of bone, wood, or shell.^ At the same age, among 
the Chibchas and the aborigines of the Califomian Penin- 
sula, holes were made in the ears.* It is at this period 
of life, also, that the Chaymas of New Andalusia, the 
Pelew Islanders, and the natives of New Britain have 
their teeth blackened, as black teeth, both for men and 
women, are considered an indispensable condition of beauty f 
and that, in several parts of Africa and Australia, they knock 
out some teeth, knowing that otherwise they would run the 
risk of being refused on account of ugliness.* Among the 
Nicobarese, among whom the men blacken their teeth 
from the period of puberty, this disfigurement is indeed so 
favourably regarded by the fair sex that a woman " would 
scorn to accept the addresses of one possessing white teeth, 
like a dc^ or pig."^ Mr. Crawfurd tells us that, in the Malay 
Archipelago, the practice of filing and blackening the teeth, 
already referred to, is a necessary prelude to marriage, the 
common way of expressing the fact that a girl has arrived at 
puberty being that "she has had her teeth filed."® And, with 
reference to some of the natives of the Congo countriesi 
Tuckey states that the two upper front teeth are filed by the 
men, so as to make a large opening, and scars are raised on 
the skin, both being intended by the men as ornamental, and 
"principally done with the idea of rendering themselves 
agreeable to the Women."^ 

The important pjtfrt played by the hair of the head as a 
stimulant of sexual passion appears in a curious way from 
Mr. Sibree's account of King Radima's attempt to introduce 

* Franklin, 'Second Expedition,' p. ii8. Holub, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 35. 
Angas, * Savage Life,' vol. ii. p. 225. * Waitz, loc, cit. vol. iv. pp. 365, 250. 

3 v. Humboldt, /(C7r.«V. vol. iii. p. 224. * Ymer,' vol. iv. p. 317. Powell, 
* Wanderings in a Wild Country,' p. 254. 

* Livingstone, loc, cit, p. 533. Chapman, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 285. Holub, 
loc, cit, vol. i. p. 328. Wilson and Felkin, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 62. * Emin 
Pasha in Central Africa,' p. 16. Andersson, loc. cit, p. 226. Ploss, 'Das 
Kind,' vol. ii. p. 264. Breton, loc, cit. p. 233. Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. pp. 

* Man, 'Account of the Nicobar Islanders,' in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. 
XV. p. 441. ® Crawfurd, loc. cit, vol. i. pp. 215, ctseq, 

^ Tuckey, ' Expedition to Explore the River Zaire,' pp. 80, et seg. 


European customs among the Hovas of Madagascar. As 
soon as he had adopted the military tactics of the English, he 
ordered that all his officers and soldiers should have their 
hair cut ; but this command produced so great a disturbance 
among the women of the capital that they assembled in great 
numbers to protest against the king's order, and could not be 
quieted till they were surrounded by troops and their leaders 
cruelly speared.^ Everywhere it is the young and unmarried 
people who are most anxious to dress their hair.* Thus, 
among the Bunjogees, a Chittagong Hill tribe, the young men 
"stuff a large ball of black cotton into their topknot to 
make if look bigger."* In the Tenimber Group, the lads 
decorate their long locks with leaves, flowers, and feathers, as 
Riedel says, " only in order to please the women."* Among 
the Tacullies, " the elderly people neglect to ornament their 
heads, in the same manner as they do the rest of their persons, 
and generally wear their hair short But the younger people 
of both sexesy who feel more solicitous to make themselves 
agreeable to each other, wash and paint their faces, and let 
their hair grow long."^ And in the Admiralty Islands, accord- 
ing to Professor Moseley, "only the young men of apparently 
from eighteen to thirty, or so, wear the hair long and combed 
out into a mop or bush," whilst the boys and older men wear 
the hair short.® 

* Sibree, loc, cit, p. 211. 

' Cf, Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 493 ; v. Weber, loc, cit, 
vol. ii. p. 197. ' Lewin, loc, cit, p. 240. 

* Riedel, loc, cit. p. 292. * Harmon, loc, cit, p. 288. 

* Moseley, ' On the Inhabitants of the Admiralty Islands,' in ' Jour. 
Anthr. Inst.,' vol. vi. p. 400. Short hair is often regarded as a symbol of 
chastity. Every Buddhist ' novice ' — that is, ai person admitted to the first 
degree of monkhood — has to cut off his hair, in order to prove that * he 
is ready to give up the most beautiful and highly-prized of all his ornaments 
for the sake of a religious life ' (Monier Williams, ' Buddhism,' p. 306) ; 
and, in Mexico, the religious virgins, as also men who decided upon 
a life of chastity, had their hair cut (Acosta, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 333. 
Bancroft, loc. cit, vol. ii. pp. 251, etseq,). A similar idea probably underlies 
the custom which requires that women, when they marry, shall be deprived 
of their hair, the husband trying in this way to preserve the fidelity of his 
wife (see Wilkes, A?^. a/, vol.iii.p.354; Waitz-Gerland,/^?^. cit. p.567 ; 
Palmer, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 286 ; de Rubruquis, toe. cit, p. 32 ; 


Passing to the practice of painting the body : Dr. Sparrman 
tells us that the two Hottentots whom he had in his ser- 
vice, when they expected to meet some girls of their own 
nation, painted their noses, cheeks, and the middle of the 
forehead with soot.^ On Flinders Island, whither the remnant 
of the Tasmanians were removed, a rebellion nearly burst out 
when orders were once issued forbidding the use of ochre and 
grease, for ** the young men feared the loss of favour in the 
eyes of their countrywomen."* Among the Guarayos, the 
suitor, when courting, keeps for some days close to the cabin 
of the mistress of his heart, he being painted from head to 
foot, and armed with his battle club.' In certain parts of 
Australia, when a boy arrives at the age of puberty, his hair, 
body, and limbs are profusely smeared with red ochre and 
fat, this being one of the rites by which he is initiated into 
the privileges of manhood.^ Again, with reference to the 
Ahts, Mr. Sproat remarks that "some of the young men 
streak their faces with red, but grown-up men seldom now 
use paint, unless on particular occasions." The women cease 
to use it about the age of twenty-five.* 

The girls are generally painted when they arrive at the 
epoch of the first menstruation.^ Thus, among certain 

Heriot, loc. cit. p. 335) ; whilst many men in New Guinea and Bomu 
deprive their wives of all ornaments (*Ymer,* vol. vi. p. 154. Barth, 
' Reisen,' vol. iii. p. 31, note). Even at Sparta and Athens, as well as 
among the Anglo-Saxons, the bride or newly-married wife had her haircut 
- short (Rossbach, loc, cit, p. 290). Mr. Wright suggests (' Womankind in 
Western Europe,' p. 68) that, among the people last mentioned, this was 
done in order to show that she had accepted a position of servitude 
towards her husband, as the cutting of hair in either sex indicated slavery. 
But that this explanation cannot be applied to every case of hair-cutting 
appears from the fact, reported by Heriot i^loc, ciL p. 333), that, among the 
Tlascalans, it was customary to shave the head of a newly-married couple, 
both man and woman, ^ to denote that all youthful sports ought in that 
state to be abandoned.' 

1 Sparrman, * Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope,' vol. ii. p. 80. 

^ Bonwick, ^ Daily Life of the Tasmanians,' pp. 25, ei seq. 

3 V. Martius, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 217. 

* Angas, 'South Australia Illustrated/ no. 22. * Sproat, loc, cit, p. 28, 

® Azara, loc, cit, vol. ii. pp. 10, 127, et seq, (Charruas and Payaguas). 
Ploss, ' Das Kind,' vol. ii. p. 259 (Mandos and Tam^yos). * Das Ausland,' 
1 88 1, p. 45 (Zulus) ; &c. 


Equatorial Africans, they are rubbed with black, red, and 
white paints in the course of a ceremony which, according to 
Mr. Reade, is essentially of a Phallic nature.^ If a young 
maiden of the Tapoyers of Brazil " be marriageable, and yet 
not courted by any, the mother paints her with some red 
colour about the eyes"^ 

The act of tattooing, also, generally takes place at the age of 
puberty, in the case of men as well as in that of women. It 
is about that period that, in the under lip of all freeborn 
female Thlinkets, "a slit is made parallel with the mouth, 
and about half an inch below it ; "* that, among the Eskimo, 
pigments of various dye are pricked on the chin, at the angles 
of the mouth, and across the face over the cheek-bones ;* that, 
in some South American tribes, incisions are made from the 
shoulders of the girl to her waist, " when she is regarded as a 
delicious morsel for the arms of an ardent lover."^ At the 
same age, either or both sexes are subject to tattooing among 
the Guarayos,* Abipones,^ Baris,® Gonds,* Dyaks,^** Negritos 
of the Philippines," South Sea Islanders,^ Australians,^ &c. 
Among the Nagas of Upper Assam, it was the custom " to 
allow matrimony to those only who made themselves as 
hideous as possible by having their faces elaborately tattooed."^* 

^ Reade, /oc. cit, p. 246. 

' Nieuhoff, ' Voyages and Travels into Brazil,' in Pinkerton, * Collection 
of Voyagies,' vol. xiv. p. 878. ^ Bancroft, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 98. 

■* Armstrong, loc, cit. p. 195. Bancroft, vol. i. p. 47. 

* Moore, loc, cit, p. 276. ® v. Martius, /^^. cit, vol. i. p. 217* 
' Dobrizhoffer, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 20. 

* Wilson and Felkin, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 97. " Forsyth, loc, cit, p. 148. 
^^ Bock, * The Head- Hunters of Borneo,' p. 189. 

" Schadenberg, * Die Negritos der Philippinen,' in ' Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,* 
vol. xii. p. 136. 

" Fijians (Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 355), Samoans {ibid.^ vol. ii. p. 141), 
Kingsmill Islanders {ibid,j vol. v. p. 103), Tahitians (Ellis, * Polynesian 
Researches,' vol. i. p. 262), natives of Eimeo (Montgomery, 'Journal of 
Voyages and Travels,' vol. i. p. 127), Tongans (Pritchard, loc, cit. p. 393), 
Nukahivans (v. Langsdorf, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 118), Gambier Islanders 
(Beechcy, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 139). 

" Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. vol. vi. pp. 739, 785, 787. 

^* Dalton, loc. cit. p. 39. Cf. Angas, 'Savage Life,* vol. i. p. 314 (New 



The Makalaka girls, before they could marry, had to submit 
to horrible torture, about four thousand stitches being made 
in the skin of the chest and stomach, and a black fluid being 
rubbed into the wounds.^ In New Zealand, according to the 
Rev. R. Taylor, it was the great ambition of the young to 
have finfe tattooed faces, " both to render themselves attractive 
to the ladies, and conspicuous in war."* In Samoa, until 
a young man was tattooed, he could not think of marriage, 
but as soon as this was done, he considered himself entitled to 
all the privileges of mature years.* "When it is all over," says 
Mr. Pritchard, "and the youths thoroughly healed, a grand 
dance is got up on the first available pretext to display 
the tattooing, when the admiration of the fair sex is un- 
sparingly bestowed. And this is the great reward, long and 
anxiously looked forward to by the youths as they smart 
under the hands of the *matai.'"* Often, however, the operation 
is accomplished not at once, but at different times, that the 
patients may be able to bear the inflammation and pain at 
every stage of the process ; and not unfrequently it begins 
when the girls are quite young children, being constantly 
added to until they marry. ^ 

The real object of the custom is shown also by several other 
statements. When Mertens asked the natives of Lukunor 
what was the meaning of tattooing, one of them answered, 
" It has the same object as your clothes, that is, to please the 
women."® Bancroft remarks that young Kadiak wives "secure 
the affectionate admiration of their husbands by tattooing the 
breast and adorning the face with black lines." ^ The raised 
cuts of the Australians, according to Mr. Palmer, are " merely 

* Mauch, ' Reisen im Inneren von Sud-Afrika,' in Petermann's * Mit- 
theilungen,' Erganzungsband VIII. no. 37, pp. 38, et seq, 

^ Taylor, loc» cit. p. 321. ' Turner, 'Samoa,' p. 88. 

* Pritchard, loc, ciL pp. 144, et seq. 

* Ellis, * Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 262 (Tahiti). Montgomery, 
loc, cit. vol. i. p. 127 (Eimeo). Angas, * Polynesia,' p. 328 (Marquesas 
Islands). Idemj 'Savage Life,' vol. i. p. 314 (New Zealand). Fytclie, 
loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 61 (Burma). Man, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xii. p. 
331 (Andaman Islands). St. John, 'The Ainos,' ibid,y voL ii. p. 249 
(Ainos of Yesso). ^ VVaitz-Gerland, loc. cit, vol. v. pt. ii. p. 67. 

' Bancroft, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 72. 


ornamental and convey no idea of tribal connection/' the 
women marking themselves in this manner ** to add to their 
looks, and to make themselves attractive."^ Barrington assures 
us that, among the natives of Botany Bay, " scars are, by both 
sexes, deemed highly ornamental ; " * and, in the Eucla tribe, 
according to Mr. W. Williams, both sexes make horizontal 
scars on the chest and vertical scars on the upper arm " for the 
purpose of ornamentation."* In Ponap^, as we are informed 
by Herr v. Kubary and Dr. Finsch, tattooing is practised 
only as a means of improving the appearance, and has nothing 
to do with religion or with rank and position.* Bock remarks, 
" As the Dyak women are tattooed to please their lovers, so 
the Laos men undergo the ordeal for the sake of the women."* 
In Samoa, great licentiousness was connected with the 
custom of tattooing ; and, in Tahiti, the chiefs prohibited it 
altogether on account of the obscene practices by which it 
was invariably accompanied in that island.* The Tahitians 
have also a very characteristic tale of its origin. Taaroa, their 
god, and Apouvaru had a daughter, who was called Hinaeree- 
remonoi. " As she grew up, in order to preserve her chastity, 
she was made * pahio,' or kept in a kind of enclosure, and con- 
stantly attended by her mother. Intent on her seduction, the 
brothers invented tattooing, and marked each other with the 
figure called Taomaro. Thus ornamented, they appeared 
before their sister, who admired the figures, and, in order to be 
tattooed herself, eluding the care of her mother, broke the 
enclosure that had been erected for her preservation, was 
tattooed, and became also the victim to the designs of her 
brothers. Tattooing thus originated among the gods, and 
was first practised by the children of Taaroa, their principal 
deity. In imitation of their example, and for the accomplish- 
ment of the same purposes, it was practised among men. . . . 

* Palmer, in *Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 286. 

» Barrington, * The History of New South Wales,* p. 1 1. 
3 Curr, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 402. 

 Finsch, in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. xii. pp. 308, ct seq. 

* Bock, * Temples and Elephants,' p. 170. 

• Turner, * Samoa,' p. 90. Ellis, ^ Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 266. 
Cy> Montgomery, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 93, 127. 

N 2 


The two sons of Taaroa and Apouvaru were the gods of 
tattooing. Their images were kept in the temples of those 
who practised the art professionally, and every application of 
their skill was preceded by a prayer addressed to them, that 
the operation might not occasion death, that the wounds 
might soon heal, that the figures might be handsome, attract 
admirers, and answer the ends of wickedness designed."^ 

This legend is especially instructive because it shows how a 
custom which had originally nothing to do with religion may 
in time take a more or less religious character. Professor 
Wundt holds that, in most cases, religious ideas are the 
original sources from which customs flow ;* but it is far more 
probable that the connection between religion and custom is 
often secondary. Nearly every practice which for some reason 
or other has come into fashion and taken root among the people, 
is readily supposed to have a divine sanction ; and this is one 
of the reasons why conservatism as to religion is so often 
accompanied by conservatism in other matters. This must 
especially be the case among savage men who identify their 
ancestors with their gods, and consequently look upon ancient 
customs as divine institutions. 

It is, indeed, difficult to believe that the motives which gave 
rise to tattooing can have been different from those which led 
to the painting of the body. The chief distinction between 
the two is, that the tattooed marks are indelible, being neither 
extinguished nor rendered fainter by lapse of time. Hence 
the prevalence of tattooing may be explained by a general 
desire among savages to make the decorations of the body 
permanent Sometimes, too, the custom seems to be kept up 
as a test of courage.* 

Even to European taste the incised lines and figures have 
in many cases a certain beauty. Thus, speaking of the 
Gambier Islanders, Beechey assures us that the tattooing 
undoubtedly improves their appearance ; and Yate remarks 
that " nothing can exceed the beautiful regularity with which 
the faces and thighs of the New Zealanders are tattooed," the 

* Ellis, loc. ciL vol. i. pp. 262, et seq, * Wundt, * Ethik,' p. 93. 

3 Cf. Franklin, * Journey,' p. 71. Bock,* Temples and Elephants,' p. i 70. 
Dalton, loc, cit. p. 251. Man, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xii. p. 331. 


volutes being perfect specimens, and the regularity mechanic- 
ally correct.^ Forster observed that, among the natives of 
Waitahoo (Marquesas Islands), the punctures were disposed 
with the utmost care, so that the marks on each leg, arm, and 
cheek and on the corresponding muscles were exactly similar.* 
Among the Tahitians, according to Darwin, the ornaments 
follow the curvature of the body so gracefully, that they have 
a very pleasing and elegant effect ; and, among the Easter 
Islanders, " all the lines were drawn with much taste, and 
carried in the direction of the muscle."^ The fact that the 
tattooed lines follow closely the natural forms of the body in 
order to render them more conspicuous, has been observed in 
the case of other peoples also,* and it would be ridiculous to 
regard such marks as transformed images of gods. 

The facts stated seem to show that the object of tattooing,^ 
as well as of other kinds of self-decoration or mutilation, was 
to stimulate the sexual desire of the opposite sex. To us it 
appears strange that such repugnant practices as that of 
perforating the septum of the nose or removing teeth should 
owe their origin to coquetry, but we must not judge of the 

^ Beechey, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 139. Yate, loc, ciL pp. 147, etseq, 

2 Forster, loc, dL vol. ii. pp. 14, etseq, 

^ Darwin, * Journal of Researches,' pp. \Z\^etseq. Beechey, vol. i. p.39. 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. vi. p. 573. Jones, * The Grammar of 
Ornament,' p. 13, note. Cf. the tattooed circle round the mouth of the 
Jurfs (Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 510) and the female Arecunas 
(Brett, loc. cit. p. 268); the rings round the eyes of the women in the 
Admiralty Islands (Moseley, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. vi. p. 401), of the 
Australians (Angas, 'South Australia Illustrated'), and the Patagonians 
(King and Fitzroy, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 135) ; the cicatrices like parallel ridges 
upon the chest, thighs, and shoulders of the Tasmanians (Bonwick, ' Daily 
Life,' p. 24) ; and the tattoos on the hands and feet of Egyptian women 
(Lane, loc. cit, vol. i. pp. 54, 57). 

^ After this chapter had been prepared for the press, I became acquainted 
with Herr Joest's magnificent work on tattooing (' Tatowiren, Narben- 
zeichnen und Korperbemalen '). Herr Joest, who is an experienced ethno- 
grapher, has come to the same conclusion as myself regarding the origin of 
this practice. He says that * der hauptsachliche Trieb, welcher beide 
Geschlechter bewegt, sich zu tatowiren, der ist, ihre Reize in den Augen 
des andern Geschlechts zu erhcihen ' (p. 56). He also observes : — * Je 
weniger sich ein Mensch bekleidet, desto mehr tatowirt er sich, und je 
hiehr er sich bekleidet, desto weniger thut erletzteres *(pp. 56, et 5eq.\. 


taste of savages by our own. In this case the desire for self- 
decoration is to a great extent identical with the wish to attract 
attention, to excite by means of the charm of novelty.^ 
At all stages of civilization people like a slight variety, but 
deviations from what they are accustomed to see must not 
be too great, nor of such a kind as to provoke a disagreeable 
association of ideas. In Cochin China, where the women 
blacken their teeth, a man said of the wife of the English 
Ambassador contemptuously that " she had white teeth like 
a dog ; "* and the Abipones in South America, who care- 
fully plucked out all the hairs with which our eyes are 
naturally protected, despised the Europeans for their thick 
eyebrows, and called them brothers to the ostriches, who have 
very thick brows.* We, on the other hand, would dislike to 
see a woman with a crystal or a piece of wood in her lip. 

It is a common notion that women are by nature vainer 
and more addicted to dressing and decorating themselves 
than men. This certainly does not hold good for savage and 
barbarous peoples in general. It is true that, among many of 
them, tattooing is exclusively or predominantly limited to 
the women, and that the men sometimes wear fewer ornaments. 
But several travellers, as for instance Dr. Schweinfurth * and 
Dr. Barth, 5 who have a vast experience of African races, 
agree that the reverse is usually the case. The women of 
all the tribes of Indians Richardson saw on his route through 
the northern parts of the fur countries, adorned their persons 
less than the men of the same tribes ; and the like is said of 
the Comanches.® Among the Uaup^s, Mr. Wallace observed 
that " the men and boys appropriated all the ornaments." ^ 

* Mr. Walker observes (' Beauty,' p. 41) that * an essential condition 
of all excitement and action in animal bodies, is a greater or less degree of 
novelty in the objects impressing them.' 

* Waitz, * Introduction to Anthropology,' p. 305. 
^ Dobrizhoffcr, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 15. 

* Schweinfurth, * Im Herzen von Afrika,' vol. ii. pp. 7, et seq, 
^ Barth, * Reisen,' vol. ii. p. 475. 

» Franklin, * Second Expedition,' p. 197 {cf. Mackenzie, loc, cit p. 
126). Schoolcraft, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 235. 

^ Wallace, ' Travels on the Amazon,' p. 281. Cf. v. Martius, he, cit. 
vol. i. p. 597. 


The native women of Orangerie Bay of New Guinea, except 
that they are tattooed, adorn themselves less than the men, 
and none of them paint their faces and bodies, as the men 
frequently do.^ In * the Admiralty Islands, young girls 
" sometimes have a necklace or two on, but they never are 
decorated to the extent to which the men are," it being 
evidently not considered good taste for them to adorn their 
persons.^ Among the aborigines of the New Hebrides, New 
Hanover, New Ireland, * and Australia,* adornments are almost 
entirely monopolized by the men, the " fair sex " being content 
with their natural charms. 

It has been suggested that the plainer appearance of the 
women depends upon their oppressed and despised position, 
as well as upon the selfishness of the men.^ But it is doubtful 
whether this is the true explanation. Savage ornaments, 
generally speaking, are not costly things, and even where 
the state of women is most degraded, a woman may, if she 
pleases, paint her body with red ochre, or put a piece of wood 
through her lip or a feather through the cartilage of the nose. 
In Eastern Central Africa, for instance, the women are more 
decorated than the men, although they hold an inferior 
position, being viewed as beasts of burden, and doing all the 
harder work. "A woman," says Mr. Macdonald, "always 
kneels when she has occasion to talk to a man."^ Almost 
the same is said of the female Indians of Guiana ; ^ whereas, in 
the Yule Island, on the coast of New Guinea, and in New 
Hanover, the women are less given to personal adornment 

* d'Albertis, * New Guinea,' vol. i. p. 200.. Cf, Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. 
voL vi. p. 57a 

* Moseley, ' Notes by a Naturalist on the Challenger ^ p. 461. Idem^ in 
* Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. vi. p. 399. Romilly, loc, cit. p. 115. 

^ Campbell, ' A Year in the New Hebrides,' p. 145. Strauch, * Bemer- 
kungen iiber Neu-Guinea,' &c., in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. ix. p. 43. 
Zimmermann, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 105. 

* Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 735. Bonwick, in *Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' 
vol. xvi. p. 204. Breton, loc, cit, pp. 210, ^/ seq, 

* Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. pp. 372, et seq, Lubbock, loc, 
cit. p. 54. Forster, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 219. Mackenzie, /<7r. cit. pp. 126 
£i seq, 

^ Macdonald, * Africana,' vol. i. p. 35. " Brett, loc. cit, p. 411. 


than the men, although they are held in respect, have influence 
in their families, and exercise, in some villages, much authority, 
or even supremacy.^ 

Of all the various kinds of sfelf-omamentation tattooing is 
the most laborious. Yet, in Melanesia, it is chiefly women 
that are tattooed, though they are treated as slaves ; whilst in 
Polynesia, where the status of women is comparatively good, 
this practice is mainly confined to the men.* In Fiji, where 
women were fearfully oppressed, genuine tattooing was found 
on them only.* 

It is expressly stated of the women of several savage 
peoples that they are less desirous of self-decoration than the 
men. Speaking of the Aleuts on the Fur-Seal Islands of 
Alaska, Mr. Elliott says, "In these lower races there is much 
more vanity displayed by the masculine element than the 
feminine, according to my observation ; in other words, I 
have noticed a greater desire among the young men than 
among the young women of savage and semi-civilized people 
to be gaily dressed, and to look fine."* Among the Gambier 
Islanders, according to Beechey, the women " have no orna- 
ments of any kind, and appeared quite indifferent to the 
beads and trinkets which were offered them."* In Tierra del 
Fuego, Lieutenant Bove found the men more desirous of 
ornaments than the women ; and Proyart made a similar 
observation with regard to the people of Loango.* Again, 
touching the Crees, Mackenzie remarks that "the women, 
though by no means inattentive to the decoration of their 
own persons, appear to have a still greater degree of pride 
attending to the appearance of the men, whose faces are 
painted with more care than those of the women."^ 

It is difficult, then, to believe that the inferior position of 

^ d'Albertis, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 418, 415. Strauch, in *Zeitschr. f. 
Ethnol.,' vol. ix. pp. 43, 62. 

- Waitz-Gerland, loc^ cit. vol. vi. pp. 575, 626, 120. 

3 Martin, loc, «'/. vol. ii. p. 267. Williams and Calvert, /t?^. «/. p. 145. 
Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 332. 

^ Elliott, ' Report on the Seal Islands of Alaska,' pp. 21, ^/ seq, 

* Beechey, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 138. 

* * Globus,' vol. xliii. p. 1 57. * Ymer,' vol. iii. p. 85. Proyart, loc. cit. p. 575. 
^ Mackenzie, loc. cit. p. xciv. Cf. Harmon, loc. cit. pp. 319, et seq. 


the weaker sex accounts for the comparative scarcity of 
female ornaments. The fact may to some extent be ex- 
plained by Mr. Spencer's suggestion, that ornaments have 
partly originated from trophy-badges, and Professor Wundt's, 
that they indicate rank and fortune ; but these explanations 
apply only to a few cases. If it be true that man began to 
decorate himself chiefly in order to stimulate the passions of 


the opposite sex, we may conclude that the vanity of the 
men is, in the first place, due to the likings of the women, 
and that the plainer appearance of the women is a conse- 
quence of the men's greater indifference to their ornaments. 
Mr. Darwin has shown that, among our domesticated quad- 
rupeds, individual antipathies and preferences are exhibited 
much more commonly by the female than by the male,^ and 
the same, as we shall see, is in some measure the case with 
man also. It is the women rather than the men that have 
to be courted. Thus, with reference to the natives of Gipps- 
land, Mr. Brough Smyth, on the authority of Mr. Bulmer, 
states, " The ornaments worn by the females were not much 
regarded by the men. The woman did little to improve her 
appearance ; ... if her physical aspect was such as to 
attract admirers, she was content."^ 

It should also be noted that among savages it is, as a rule, 
the man only that runs the risk of being obliged to lead a 
single life. Hence it is obvious that to the best of his ability 
he must endeavour to be taken into favour by making himself 
as attractive as possible. In civilized Europe, on the other 
hand, the opposite occurs. Here it is the woman that has 
the greatest difficulty in getting married, — and she is also the 
vainer of the two. 

The hypothesis as to the origin of the customs in question, 
set forth in this chapter, presupposes of course that savage 
girls enjoy great liberty in the choice of a mate. It will be 
seen subsequently that there can be no doubt as to the 
accuracy of that presumption. 

At a higher stage of civilization the tendency of mankind 
is to give up savage ornaments, and no longer to regard 

* Darwin, * The Descent of Man/ vol. ii. pp. 290-295. 

* Brough Smyth, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 275. 


mutilations of the body as improving the appearance. In 
Persia, women still wear the nose-ring through one side of the 
nostril/ but to a European such a custom would be extremely 
displeasing. In the Western world the ear-ring is the last 
vanishing relic of savage taste. 

From the naked body the ornaments were transferred to 
clothing, partly because climate made clothes necessary, 
partly for another reason. "A savage begins," Professor 
Moseley says, " by painting or tattooing himself for ornament 
Then he adopts a movable appendage, which he hangs on 
his body, and on which he puts the ornamentation which he 
formerly marked more or less indelibly on his skin. In this 
way he is able to gratify his taste for change'"^ 

It is usually said that man began to cover his body for two 
reasons : first, to protect himself from frost and damp ; second- 
ly, on account of a feeling of shame. 

There can be no doubt that, when man emigrated from his 
warm native home and settled down in less hospitable zones, 
it became necessary for him to screen himself from the influ- 
ences of a raw climate. The Eskimo wrap themselves up in 
furs, and the wretched natives of Tierra del Fuego throw a 
piece of sealskin over one of their shoulders, " on the side from 
which the wind blows."* 

The second motive, too, seems acceptable at first sight. 
The savage men of the tropics, though otherwise entirely 
naked, commonly wear a scanty dress which Europeans might 
readily suppose to be used for the sake of decency. Nothing 
of the sort is found in any other animal species ; hence 
Professor Wundt concludes that shame is " a feeling specifically 
peculiar to man."* 

But why should man blush to expose one part of the body 
more than another } This is no matter of course, but a 
problem to be solved. 

The feeling in question cannot be regarded as originally 
innate in mankind. There are many peoples, who, though 
devoid of any kind of dress, show no trace of shame, 

* Tylor, * Anthropology,' p. 243. '^ Moseley, loc. at. p. 412. 

2 Wilkes, loc. cit, vpl. i. p. 121. * Wundt, /<7r. «V. p. 127. 


and others* who, when they dress themselves, pay not the 
least regard to what we consider the first requirements 
of decency. 

Thus, in the northern parts of the Californian Peninsula, 
both men and women have been found in a state of nudity.* 
Among the Miwok, according to their own confession, persons 
of both sexes and of all ages were formerly absolutely naked.^ 
Lyman found the same to be the case with the Paiuches in 
northern Colorado, Columbus with the aborigines of Hispa- 
niola, Pizarro with the Indians of Coca, v. Humboldt with the 
Chaymas, Wallace with the Purupurus, v. Schiitz-Holzhausen 
with the Catamixis, Prince Maximilian with the Puris at St, 
Fidelis, Azara with certain Indians in the neighbourhood of 
the river Paraguay.^ In some Indian tribes the men alone go 
naked,* in others the women.* Again, in North America, 
Mackenzie met a troop of natives, of whom the men wore 
many ornaments and much clothing, but had, apparently, not 
the slightest notion of bashfulness. And of the Fuegians we 
are told that, although they have the shoulder or the back 
protected by a sealskin, the rest of the body is perfectly 

The men of most Australian tribes, and in many cases the 
women, wear no clothes except in cold weather, when they 
throw a kangaroo skin about their shoulders. " They are as 

* Baegert, in * Smith. Rep.,' 1863, p. 361. * Powers, loc, at. p. 348. 
3 Waitz, loc, ciL vol. iv. p. 210. Ling Roth, in *Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' 

vol. xvi. p. 275. Waitz, vol. iv. p. 193, note. v. Humboldt, loc. cii. 
vol. iii. p. 23a Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 513. v. Schiitz- 
Holzhausen, loc, cit. p. 179. Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied, ^Travels in 
Brazil,' p. 59. Azara, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 83. 

* Chamias, Pampas, Tupis, Payaguas (Azara, vol. ii. pp. 12, 42, 74, 
126), and often the Nutkas (Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 182) and Patwin 
(Powers, p. 220). 

* Aborigines of Trinidad (Columbus, 'The History of the Life and 
Actions of Christopher Colon,' in Pinkerton, 'Collection of Voyages/ 
vol. xii. p. loi), MundrucOs, Marauds, Jurfs (v. Martius, loc. cit. vol. i. 
pp. 388, 427, 504), Uaupds, and Curetus (Wallace, ' Travels on the Amazon,' 

pp. 492, 509)- 

* Forster, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 499. King and Fitzroy, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 23. 
Wilkes, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 121. * Ymer,' vol. iii. p. 85. Armstrong, loc. cit. 
p. 33. Darwin, * Journal of Researches,' p. 228. 


innocent of shame/'says Mr. Palmer, ** as the animals of the 
forests."^ In Tasmania, too, the aborigines were usually naked, 
or, when they covered themselves, they showed that the idea 
of decency had not occurred to them.* The same is said 
of some tribes in Borneo ^ and Sumatra,* the people of Jarai, 
bordering upon the empire of Siam,*^ the inhabitants of the 
Louisiade Archipelago,^ Solomon Islands,^ Penrhyn Island, 
and some other islands of the South Sea ; ® whilst, in others, 
only the men generally go naked.^ The Papuans of the south- 
west coast of New Guinea "glory in their nudeness, and 
consider clothing to be fit only for women."^^ In one part 
of Timor, on the other hand,^^ as also in a tribe of the Anda- 
manese,^* it is the women that are devoid of any kind of 

Passing to Africa, we meet with instances of the same 
kind. Concerning the Wa-taveita of the eastern equa- 
torial region, Mr. Johnston remarks that *' both sexes have 
little notion or conception of decency, the men especially 
seeming to be unconscious of any impropriety in nakedness. 
What clothing they have is worn as an adornment or for 

^ Mathew, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,* vol. xxiii. pp. 391, et seq. 
Breton, loc, cit. pp. 211, etseq, Labillardi^re, loc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 2T^eiseq. 
Bonwick, ' Daily Life,' &c., pp. 104, et seq. Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. vol. vi. 
p. 737. Palmer, in *Jour. Antbr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 281, note. Sir G. 
Grey remarks that he never saw a cloak or covering worn north of lat 29^ 
(Curr, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 93). 

2 Bonwick, * Daily Life,' pp. 24, 104. Breton, p. 398. Waitz-Gerland, 
vol. vi. p. 812. 

3 Bock, * The Head-Hunters of Borneo,' p. 183. 

* Forbes, * The Kubus of Sumatra,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst,' vol. xiv. 
p. 122. * Crawfurd, loc. cit. voL iii. p. 5. 

® Labillardi^re, vol ii. pp. 287, 289. ^ Udd.^ vol ii. p. 274- 

® Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. iv. p. 277 ; vol. v. p. 46 (Drummond's Island). 
Kotzebue, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 215, note (Pelew Islands). 

^ Nukahiva (Lisiansky, loc. cit. p. 85), Pelli of the Caroline Group 
(Kotzebue, voL iii p. 191), New Britain (Powell, loc. cit. p. 25a 
d'Albertis, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 255), the Duke of York Group (Powell, 
pp. 74, et seq.)y many parts of New Guinea and neighbouring islands 
^(d'Albertis, vol. ii. p. 380. Earl, loc. cit. p. 48. Gill, * Life in the Southern 
Isles,' p. 203. Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 568). *^ Gill, p. 230. 

" Forbes, * Tribes of Timor,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 406. 

" Man, ibid., vol. xii. p. 330. 


warmth at night and early morning." ^ The Wa-chaga and 
Mashukulumbe generally go about naked,* and so do the 
Bushmans, except when they use a piece of skin barely suffi- 
cient to cover the back.' Again, among the Bubis of Fer- 
nando Po* and the natives of Balonda^ and Loango,* the 
women have no sort of covering, whilst, among the Negroes of 
the Egyptian Soudan,^ the Baris,® Shilluk,* Dinka,^® Watuta," 
and Masai/* this is the case with the men only. Apud 
Masaios membrum virile celare turpe existimatur, honestum 
expromere, atque etiam ostentare.^ In Lancerote also, accord- 
ing to Bontier and Le Verrier, the men used no covering ; 
and, in Teneriffe, " the inhabitants went naked, except some 
few who wore goatskins."" 

It might perhaps be supposed that the feeling of modesty, 
though not originally innate, appeared later on, at a certain 
stage of civilization, either spontaneously or from some 
unknown cause. This seems, indeed, to be the opinion of 
Professor Wundt, who says that man began to cover himself 
from decency.^^ But let us see what covering savages often 

A fashionable young Wintun woman, says Mr. Powers, 
wears a girdle of deer-skin, the lower edge of which is slit 
into a long fringe with a polished pine-nut at the end of each 
strand, while the upper border and other portions are studded 
with brilliant bits of shell.^® The Botocudos use a covering 
which has little resemblance to a garment; and their neighbours, 
the Patachos and Machacaris, make this trifle still smaller, 

* Johnston, loc. cit. p. 433. 

^ Jbid.^ p. 437. Holub, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 299. 

3 Kretzscbmar, * Sudafrikanische Skizzen,' p. 225. Chapman, loc, cit. 
vol- i. p. 78. Barrow, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 276. 

* M oiler, Pagels, and Gleenip, * Tre ar i Kongo,' vol. i. p. 15. 

* Livingstone, loc, cit. p. 305. 

6 Wilson and Felkin, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 53. 

"f * Ymer,' vol. v. p. 36. ® Wilson and Felkin, vol. ii. p. 96. 

* Schweinfurth, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 322. ^® Ibid.^ vol. i. p. 163. 
'^ Cameron, 'Across Africa,' vol. i. pp. 285, ^Z seq. 

*^ Last, in * Proceed. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' N. S. vol. v. p. 530. 

*' Johnston, p. 413, note. 

" Bontier and l.e Verrier, loc. cit, pp. 138, 139, xxxv. 

1'' Wundt,*/^^:. cit. p. 127. " Powers, loc, cit. p. 233. 


a thread being sufficient clothing, according to their notion 
of modesty.^ When a Carib girl attained the age of ten or 
twelve years, she assumed around the waist " a piece of cotton 
cloth worked and embroidered with minute grains of shells 
of different colours, decorated in the lower part with fringe."- 
Similar ornamental skirts are in use among the Macusis, 
Arawaks, and other South American peoples.* Among the 
GuaycUrfts, the men had no covering, except a narrow bandage 
round the loins, which was of coloured cotton, and often 
adorned with glass beads.* The Australians of Port Essing- 
ton occasionally wear girdles of finely twisted human hair, 
and ' the men sometimes add a tassel of the hair of the 
opossum or flying squirrel, suspended in front.* The women 
on the Lower Murray manufacture round mats of grass or 
reeds, which they fasten upon their backs, " tying them in 
front, so that they almost resemble the shell of a tortoise.*'* 
In Tahiti, a "maro," composed of red and yellow feathers, was 
considered a present of very great value, and the women 
thought it " most ornamental *' to enfold their loins with 
many windings of cloth.^ Dr. Seemann states that, in Fiji, the 
girls " wore nothing save a girdle of hibiscus-fibres, about six 
inches wide, dyed black, red, yellow, white, or brown, and put 
on in such a coquettish way, that one thought it must come 
off every moment."® A similar practice is common in the 
islands of the Pacific, fringes made of cocoa-nut fibre or of 
leaves slit into narrow strips or filaments of bark, frequently 
dyed with gaudy colours, being, in most of these islands, the 
only garment of the natives. This costume, with its con- 
spicuous tint and mobile fringe, has a most graceful appear- 
ance and a very pretty effect, but is far from being in 
harmony with our ideas of modesty. In the Island of Yap, 
according to Cheyne, " the dress 6f the males, if such it may 

^ Waltz, loc. cit, vol. iii. p. 446. * Heriot, loc, ciL pp. 306, et seq. 

3 V. Martius, loc. ciL vol. i. pp. 642 ; 702, 703, note ; 579. 
* V. Spix and v. Martius, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 76. 
^ Macgillivray, * The Voyage oi Rattlesnake,^ vol. i. p. 146. 
^ Angas, * Savage Life,' vol. i. p. 85. 

" Cook, * Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,' vol. ii. pp. 16, et seq. Idem^ 
* Journal of a Voyage round the World,' p. 44. 
^ Seemann, * Viti,' p. 168 

»■_ -T^-x-a-" 


be called, is slovenly in the extreme. They wear the * maro ' 
next them, and, by way of improvcm ent, a bunch of bark 
fibres dyed red, over it."^ In New Caledonia, in Forster's 
time, the natives only tied " a string round the middle and 
another round the neck ; "* whilst, in some other groups, the 
costume of the men consisted of nothing but a leaf,^ a 
mussel,"^ or a shell.^ 

In Sumatra, according to Marsden, young women, before 
they are of an age to be clothed, have a plate of silver in the 
shape of a heart hung in front by a chain of the same metal.' 
Among the Garos of Bengal, the women wear merely a very 
short piece of striped blue cotton round the waist. The men 
have a very narrow waist-cloth tied behind and then brought 
up between the legs ; the portion hanging over in front is 
sometimes adorned with brass boss-like ornaments, and white 
long-shaped beads.^ In Lukungu, the entire covering of most 
of the women consists of a narrow string with some white 
china beads threaded on it® The Hottentot women, accord- 
ing to Barrow, bestowed their largest and most splendid 
ornaments upon the little apron, about seven or eight inches 
wide, that hung from the waist. "Great pains," he says 
" seem to be taken by the women to attract notice towards 
this part of their persons. Large metal buttons, shells of the 
cypraea genus, with the apertures outwards, or anything that 
makes a great show, are fastened to the borders of this 
apron."*^ The Bushman women of South Africa, met with 
by the same traveller, had as their only covering a belt of 
springbok's skin, the part which was intended to hang in 
front being cut into long threads. But the filaments, he 
says, " were so small and thin that they answered no sort of 

* Cheyne, loc, cit, p. 144. * Forster, loc» cit vol. ii. p. 383. 

2 New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Ulaua (Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. vol. vi. 
pp. 561, 565). 

^ Torres Islands, New Guinea (Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 567). 

* Admiralty Islands (Labillardi^re, loc. cit. vol. i. pp. 279, et seq. 
Moselcy, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. vi. pp. 397, et seq.\ 

* Marsden, loc, cit. p. 52. 

^ Godwin-Austen, *Garo Hill Tribes,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. ii. 
p. 394- * Moller, Pagels, and Gleerup, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 169. 

** Barrow, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 155. 


use as a covering ; nor, indeed, did the females, either old or 
young, seem to feel any sense of shame in appearing before 
us naked."^ And among the Negroes of Benin, according to 
Bosman, the girls had no other garment than some strings of 
coral twisted about the middle.* 

It seems utterly improbable that such " garments " owe 
their origin to the feeling of shame. Their ornamental 
character being obvious, there can be little doubt that men 
and women originally, at least in many cases, covered them- 
selves not from modesty, but, on the contrary, in order to 
make themselves more attractive — the men to women, and 
the women to men. 

In a state where all go perfectly nude, nakedness must 
appear quite natural, for what we see day after day makes no 
special impression upon us. But when one or another — 
whether man or woman — began to put on a bright-coloured 
fringe, some gaudy feathers, a string with beads, a bundle of 
leaves, a piece of cloth, or a dazzling shell, this could not of 
course escape the attention of the others ; and the scanty cover- 
ing was found to act as the most powerful attainable sexual 
stimulus.^ Hence the popularity of such garments in the 
savage world. 

Several travellers have noted that there is nothing indecent 
in absolute nakedness when the eyes have got accustomed to it. 
" Where all men go naked, as for instance in New Holland," 
says Forster, " custom familiarizes them to each other's eyes, 
as much as if they went wholly muffled up in garments."* 
Speaking of a Port Jackson woman who was entirely un- 
covered, Captain Hunter remarks, "There is such an air of in- 
nocence about her that clothing scarcely appears necessary/'* 
With reference to the Uaup6s, Mr. Wallace records his 
opinion that " there is far more immodesty in the transparent 

^ Barrow, loc, cit. vol. i. pp. 276, et seg, ^ Bosman, loc, cii. p. 524- 

3 * Nur das Verborgene reizt,' says Dr. Zimmermann {ioc, cit voL ii. 
p. 84), ' und Diejenigen welche auf den Gesellschafts-Inseln die verhiiK 
lende Kleidung und den heimlichen Genuss und das Verbcrgcn der 
natiirlichen Gefiihle einfiihrten, haben gewiss die Sitten nicht verbcsseri.' 

* Forster, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 383. 

' Hunter, * Historical Journal,' &c., p. 477. 


—  II » — »i  ^  -■-  ^1  I I .  » II  ^ 

and flesh-coloured garments of our stage-dancers, than in the 
perfect nudity of these daughters of the forest"^ Describing 
the naked savages of Tierra del Fuego, Captain Snow says, 
** An eminent historian has well observed that * drapery may 
be more alluring than exposure ; ' and, strictly speaking, so it* 
is. Familiarity with the naked savages of different lands 
would, I believe, do more to lessen particular immorality and 
vice than millions of sermons probably ever will or can. . . . 
More harm, I think, is done by false modesty, — by covering 
and partly clothing, than by the truth in nature always ap- 
pearing as it is. Intermingling with savages of wild lands who 
do not clothe, gives one, I believe, less impure and sensual 
feelings than the merely mixing with society of a higher 
kind." 2 

The same view is taken by Dr. Zimmermann,* and by Mr. 
Reade, who, with reference to the natives of Central Africa, 
remarks that there is nothing voluptuous in the excessive 
d/shabilU of an equatorial girl, nothing being so moral and 
so unlikely to excite the passions as nakedness. * Speaking 
of the Wa-chaga, Mr. Johnston observes, " We should be apt 
to call, from our point of view, their nakedness and almost 
unconsciousness of shame indelicate, but it is rather, when 
one gets used to it, a pleasing survival of the old innocent 
days when prurient thoughts were absent from the mind 

* Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 296. 

* Snow, 'Two Years* Cruise off Tierra del Fuego,' vol. ii. p. 51. 

^ Speaking of the naked women of New Ireland, he says (loc. cit. vol. 
ii. pp. 103, et seq.), *' In der That muss ich auch sagen, dass nach kurzer 
Zeit, nach einer durchaus nicht lange dauemden Gewohnung an diese 
Sache, man gar nicbts anstossiges mehr in diesem ganzlichen Mangel an 
Kleidung findet . . . Ichhabesehr haufig bemerkt, dass ein Kleidirgend 
einer Dame, welches nicht nach der allgemeinen Mode geschnitten war, 
mir starker auffiel als mir der ganzliche Mangel an Bekleidung der 
£ingeborenen der tropischen Inseln aufgefallen ist ; dazu kommt noch, 
dass die Leute dem Beobachter durchaus keine Veranlassung geben, an 
etwas unschickliches zu denken. £ine Europaerin, wenn sie auf eine so 
^liickliche Insel verschlagen und ihrer Kleidung beraubt ware, wiirde 
selbst nach jahrelangem Aufenthalt in solchen Regionen sich die Hande 
vor die Brust oder irgend einen anderen Theil halten und gerade durch 
dies Verbergenwollen wiirde sie die Aufmerksamkeit gegen das zu 
Verbergende lenken." * Reade, loc. cit p. 546. 



of man.''^ As a* careful observer remarks,* true modesty 
lies in the entire absence of thought upon the subject. 
Among medical students and artists the nude causes no ex- 
traordinary emotion ; indeed, Flaxman asserted that the stu- 
dents in entering the academy seemed to hang up their passions 
along with their hats. 

On the other hand, Forster says of the natives of Mallicollo, 
that " it is uncertain whether the scanty dress of their women 
owes its origin to a sense of shame, or to an artful endeavour 
to please ; '* and of the men of Tanna, that " round their 
middle they tie a string, and below that they employ the 
leaves of a plant like ginger, for the same purpose and in the 
same manner as the natives of Mallicollo. Boys, as soon as 
they attain the age of six years, are provided with these 
leaves ; which seems to confirm what I have observed in re- 
gard to the Mallicollese, viz.y that they do not employ this 
covering from motives of decency. Indeed, it had so much 
the contrary appearance, that in the person of every native of 
Tanna or Mallicollo, we thought we beheld a living represent- 
ation of that terrible divinity who protected the orchards and 
gardens of the ancients."* Speaking of the very simple 
dress worn by the male Hottentot, Barrow says, " If the 
real intent of it was the promotion of decency, it should seem 
that he has widely missed his aim, as it is certainly one of the 
most immodest objects, in such a situation as he places it, 
that could have been contrived." * Among the Khyoungtha, 
there is a native tradition worth mentioning in this connec- 
tion. " A certain queen," Captain Lewin tells us, " noticed 
with regret that the men of the nation were losing their love 
for the society of the women, and were resorting to vile and 
abominable practices, from which the worst possible results 
might be expected. She therefore prevailed upon her hus- 
band to promulgate a rigorous order, prescribing the form of 
petticoat to be worn by all women in future, and directing 
that the males should be tattooed, in order that, by thus 
disfiguring the males, and adding piquancy to tfu beauty of the 

' Johnston, loc, ciL p. 437. ^ Lewin, lite, at, p. 349. 

• Forster, ioc, cit, vol ii. pp. 230, 276, et seq, 

* Barrow, Ioc, cit, vol. i. p. 154. 

.__ - -.,g^^^ 


womefiy the former might once more return to the feet of their 
wives. ^ 

Moreover, we know that some tribes who go perfectly 
naked are ashamed to cover themselves, looking upon a gar- 
ment as something indecent. The pious father Gumilla was 
greatly astonished to find that the Indians on the Orinoco 
did not blush at their nakedness. " Si les Missionaires," he 
says, " qui ignorent leurs co(itumes s'avisent de distribuer des 
mouchoirs, surtout aux femmes, pour qu'elles puissent se 
couvrir, elles les jettent dans la Riviire, oix elles vont les 
cacher, pour ne point etre obligees de s'en servir ; et lors 
qu'on leur dit de se couvrir, elles r^pondent : . . . * Nous ne 
couvrons point, parce que cela nous cause de la honied '' ^ That 
this IS no " traveller's tale " merely, appears from the following 
statement made by v. Humboldt with reference to the New 
Andalusian Chaymas, who, like most savage peoples dwell- 
ing in regions excessively hot, have an insuperable aversion 
to clothing : — ^^ Under the torrid zone," he asserts, "... the 
natives are ashamed, as they say, to be clothed ; and flee to 
the woods when they are too soon compelled to give up their 
nakedness."' Again, in an Indian hut at Mucura in Brazil, 
Mr. Wallace found the women entirely without covering, and 
apparently quite unconscious of the fact One of them, how- 
ever, possessed a *' safa,'' or petticoat, which she sometimes put 
on, and seemed then, as Mr. Wallace says, " almost as much 
ashamed of herself as civilized people would be if they took 
theirs off."* 

There are several instances of peoples who, although they 
generally go perfectly naked, sometimes use a covering. 
This they always do under circumstances which plainly in- 
dicate that the covering is worn simply as a means of attrac- 
tion. Thus Lohmann tells us that, among the Saliras, only 
harlots clothe themselves ; and they do so in order to excite 
through the unknown.* In many heathen tribes in the 

* Lewin, loc, cit pp. 116, et seq, 

* Gumilla, * Histoire naturelle, civile et g^ographique de I'Orenoque,' 
vol. i. pp. 188, et seq, * v. Humboldt, ioc. cit, vol. iii. p. 230. 

* Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 357. 

^ Quoted by Bastian, ' Rechtsverhaltnisse,' p. 174. 

O 2 



interior of Africa, according to Barth, the married women are 
entirely nude, whilst the young marriageable girls cover 
their nakedness, — a practice analogous to that of a married 
woman being deprived of her ornaments and her hair.* Mr. 
Mathews states that, in many parts of Australia, " the females, 
and more especially young girls, wear a fringe suspended 
from a belt round the waist."* Concerning the natives of 
Botany Bay (New South Wales), Barrington remarks that 
" the females at an early age wear a little apron, made from 
the skin of the opossum or kangaroo, cut into slips, and 
hanging a few inches from the waist ; this they wear till they 
grow up and are taken by men, and then they are left off." ' 
Collins says the same of the girls at Port Jackson ; * Mr. 
Palmer of some other Australians ; * and Captain Snow of 
all those tribes among whom he had been for several weeks.* 
Again, on Moreton Island, according to Macgillivray, both 
men and women went about altogether unclothed, but the 
female children wore a small fringe in front The same 
naturalist reports that, in almost all the tribes of Torres 
Strait, the women wear a petticoat of fine shreds of pandanus 
leaves, the ends worked into a waistband, upon the construc- 
tion of which much labour is expended ; but it is only 
" sometimes put on, especially by the young girls, and when 
about to engage in dancing." Under this, however, another 
covering is usually worn.^ Among the Tupi tribes of Brazil, 
as soon as a girl became marriageable, " cotton cords were 
tied round her waist and round the fleshy part of both arms ; 
they denoted a state of maidenhood, and, if any one but a 
maiden wore them, they were persuaded that the Anhanga 
would fetch her away. ... It cannot," Mr. Southey adds, ** have 
been invented for the purpose of keeping the women chaste 
till marriage, for these bands were broken without fear, and 

' Barth, ' Reisen,' vol. ii. pp. 467, et seq, 

* Mathews, in 'Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 392. 
3 Barrington, loc, cit, pp. 23, et seg, 

* Freycinet, ioc, cit. vol. ii. p. 748. 

* Pahner, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. pp. 286 ; 281, nolc. 

* Snow, he, cit, vol. ii. p. 46. 

' Macgillivray, Ioc, cit, vol. i. p. 49 ; vol. ii. pp. 19, et seq» 



incontinence was not regarded as an offence." i Among the 
Narrinyeri of Southern Austrah'a, girls wear a sort of apron 
of fringe until they bear their first child, and, if they have no 
children, it is taken from them and burned by the husband 
while they are asleep.* In the Koombokkaburra tribe also, 
the young women wear in front an apron of spun opossum 
fur, which is generally given up after the birth of the first 
or second child.' 

There are several cases in which only the married women 
are clothed, the unmarried going entirely naked. ^ But such 
instances do not conflict with the hypothesis suggested. 
Through long-continued use covering loses its original cha- 
racter and becomes a sign of modesty, whilst perfect naked- 
ness becomes a stimulus. Usually, where nudity is considered 
indecent, the garments of the girls of barbarous peoples are 
restricted as much as possible, whilst those of the older 
women are comparatively seemly. Thus, among the African 
Shulis, the married women wear a narrow fringe of string in 
front, the unmarried wearing nothing but bead ornaments.* 
Among the natives of Tassai,New Guinea, the former use a 
larger and thicker kind of petticoat of pandanus leaf, divided 
into long grass-like shreds, reaching to the knee ; while that 
worn by the latter consists merely of single lengths made 
fast to a string which ties round the waist.® In Fiji, the liku 
— ^a kind of band made from hibiscus-bark — is before mar- 
riage worn very short, but after the birth of the first child is 
much lengthened ; ' and a similar practice occurs in other 
islands of the South Sea.® 

^ Soutbey, loc, ciL vol. i. pp. 240, et seq, Cf, v. Martius, loc, cit. vol. i. 
p. III. * Taplin, loc, ciL p. 15. Cf. Brough Smyth, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 275. 
^ Curr, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 19. 

* Wanyoro (Wilson and Felkin, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 49. ' Emin Pasha 
in Central Africa,' p. 82), New Caledonians (Turner, ' Samoa,' p. 342), 
Papuans of Dorey (Finsch, loc. cit. p. 96), aborigines of Hayti (Ling Roth, 
in *Jour. Anthr. Inst,' vol. xvL p. 275), Fuegians (Snow, loc. cit. vol. ii. 
p. 46). 

* Wilson and Felkin, vol. ii. p. 62. Cf. ibid.^ voL ii. p. 97 (Baris) ; 
Shooter, loc. cit. p. 6 (Kafirs). ® Macgillivray, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 263. 

^ Wilkes, loc^ cit. voL iii. p. 355. Seemann, * Viti,' p. 351. 

* Forster, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 280. Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. vol. vi. p. 562. 
Cf. Dalton, loc. cit. p. 27 (Abors). 


'  ™ ' m^^^^^  I II I.I  I .    I   ^m^^^  I  I » ^i^^^— ^^M^— I I  I W ^' ^^"^^  

The dances and festivals of many savage peoples are 
notoriously accompanied by the most hideous licentiousness. 
Then the young men and women endeavour to please each 
other in various ways, painting themselves with brilliant 
colours, and decorating themselves with all sorts of orna- 
ments.^ On such occasions many tribes who go naked in 
everyday life put on a scanty covering. Mr. Bonwick states 
that, among the Tasmanians, a fur string or band of emu 
feathers was used by some tribes, but only on great festivities ; 
and the women wore in the dance a covering of leaves or 
feathers, which, as among the Australians on similar occasions, 
was removed directly afterwards. Tasmanian dances were 
performed " with the avowed intention of exciting the passions 
of the men, in whose presence one young woman had the 
dance to herself."* Among the Australian Pegulloburras, 
who generally go entirely naked, the women on festive 
occasions wear round the middle small fringes.* Speaking of 
the Brazilian Uaup6s, Mr. Wallace asserts that, " while dancing 
in their festivals, the women wear a small * tanga,' or apron, 
made of beads, prettily arranged. It is only about six inches 
square, but is never worn at any other time, and immediately 
the dance is over, it is taken off." Besides, their bodies are 
painted.* The same was the case with the Tahitian Areois — 
a sort of privileged libertines, leading a most licentious life, 
and practising lewd dances and pantomimes, — who also some- 
times, on public occasions, put on a girdle of the yellow " ti " 
leaves, which, in appearance, resembled the feather girdles of 
the Peruvians or other South American tribes.^ As to the 
South African Basutos, Mr. Casalis states that marriageable 

^ Tacullies, (Harmon, /oc, cit p. 305), Uaup^s (Wallace, * Travels on 
the Amazon,' p. 281), Ordons (Dalton, loc, cit, p. 250), Ysabel Islanders 
(Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit, voL vi. p. 604), Samoans (Turner, * Samoa,' p. 
121), Papuans of Humboldt Bay (Finsch, loc, cii. p.«i39). As to the 
indecent character of savage dances, see, for instance, Waitz-Gerland, 
vol. vi. p. 754 (Australians) ; Turner, p. 95 (Samoans) ; Ehrenreich, 
* Ueber die Botocudos,' in * Zeitschr. f.Ethnol./ vol. xix. p. 33 (Botocudos) ; 
Powers, loc. cit, p. 57 (Califomians). 

* Bonwick, ' Daily Life,' pp. 27, 38. ^ Curr, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 47a. 
^ Wallace, pp. 493, 281. v. Martius, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 597. 

* Ellis, ' Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 235. 


girls " frequently indulge in grotesque dances, and at those 
times wear, as a sort of petticoat, long bands composed of a 
series of rushes artistically strung together."^ 

Very generally in the savage world, where climate does 
not put obstacles in the way, both sexes go naked till they 
reach manhood, covering being resorted to at the same period 
of life as other ornaments.* A South Australian boy, for 
instance, when fourteen or sixteen years old, has to undergo 
the initiatory rites of manhood as follows : — he is smeared 
all over with red ochre and grease, the hair is plucked from 
his body, and his friends gather green gfum bushes, which 
they place under his arm-pits and over the os pubisy after 
which the boy is entitled to marry.* 

In conformity with other ornaments, what we consider de- 
cent covering is said to be more common with savage men than 
with women. " If dress were the result of a feeling of shame," 
Professor Waitz observes, " we should expect it to be more in- 
dispensable to woman than to man, which is not the case."* In 
America, according to v. Humboldt — among the Caribs, for in- 
stance — the men are often more decently clothed than the 
women.* The same is stated of the Nagas of Upper Assam;® 
and Barth, who had a vast experience of African savages, re- 
marks, " I have observed that many heathen tribes consider a 
covering, however poor and scanty it may be, more necessary 
for man than woman/*^ Whether this is the rule among 
savage peoples is doubtful. At any rate, the egoism of 
the men cannot be blamed for the nakedness of the women. 
For a savage Eve may pluck her clothes from the trees. 

* Casalis, loc, cit, p. 269. 

* Waitz-Gcrland, loc, cit. vol. vi. p. 42. Riedel, loc, cit p. 463. Burton, 

* First Footsteps,' p. 123. Moller, Pagels, and Gleerup, loci cit, vol. i. 
p. 128. Reade, loc, cit, pp. 45, 245, et seq, Nachtigal, loc. cit, vol. i. 
pu 221. Chapman, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 36. Caillid, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 351. 

* Globus/ vol. xli. p. 237. 

' Angas, ' Savage Life,' vol. i. pp. 98, et seq, Cf, Bonney, * The Abori- 
gines of the River Darling,' in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 127 ; 
Cameron, /^/^., vol. xiv. p. 358 ; Bon wick, ' The Australian Natives,' ibid.^ 
vol. xvi. p. 209. . * Waitz, * Introduction to Anthropology,' p. 300. 

* V. Humboldt, loc, cit, voL vi. p. 10. • Dalton, loc. cit. p. 41. 
7 Barth, 'Reisen,' vol. ii. p. 473. Cf. Moller, Pagels, and Gleerup, 

vol. i. p. 269, 


In support of the psychological presumption which under- 
lies the hypothesis here adduced, it may be added that some 
peoples are in the habit of covering other parts of the body 
also, in order to "excite through the unknown." Thus, 
among the Tipperahs, the married women wear nothing but a 
short petticoat, while the unmarried girls cover the breast with 
a gaily-dyed cloth with fringed ends.* Among the Toungtha, 
the bosoms of women are left uncovered after the birth of the 
first child, but the unmarried girls wear a narrow breast cloth.* 
The Chinese consider small feet to be the chief charm of their 
women, and the girls have to undergo horrible torture while 
their feet are being compressed to the smallest possible size. 
It might be supposed that they would at least have the pleasure 
of fascinating the men by a beauty so painfully acquired. But 
Dr. Strieker assures us that, in China, a woman is considered 
immodest if she shows her artificially distorted foot to a man. 
It is even improper to speak of a woman's foot, and in decent 
pictures this part is always concealed under the dress.* The 
women of Agades, according to Barth, generally go unveiled, 
and if they sometimes cover their heads, this is done rather 
from coquetry than from a feeling of shame.* Mr. Man re- 
marks that a Hindu woman who attempts to hide her face, 
while she wears a gauze which displays her whole form, in her 
simulated modesty always appears as if attempting to convey 
an arriire pens^e.^ Among the Tacullies, it is customary 
for the girls to have over their eyes a kind of veil or fringe, 
made either of strung beads or of narrow strips of deer skin 
garnished with porcupine quills ;* and, among the Chawanons, 
according to Moore, those young women who have any pre- 
tensions to beauty, as soon as they become marriageable, 
" muffle themselves up so that when they go abroad it is im- 
possible to see anything but their eyes. On these indications 
of beauty they are eagerly sought in marriage."^ 

' Lewin, loc. ciL p. 207. * Ibid.,^ p. 192. 

' Strieker, * Der Fuss der Chinesinnen,' in * Archiv fur Anthropologic,' 
vol. iv. p. 243. * Chavanne, * Die Sahara,' pp. 477,^/ seq. 

^ Man, loc, cit. pp. 80, et seq. 

• Harmon, loc. cit, p. 289. Cf, Heame, loc. cit pp. 314, et seg. 
7 Moore, loc. cit. pp. 259, et seq. Cf, Buchanan, ^c. cit. p. 323. 


Finally, it is worth noting that this covering, or half covering, 
is only one of the means by which savage men and women en- 
deavour to direct attention to that which civilized man conceals 
from a sense of shame. Among the Admiralty Islanders, the 
only covering is a shell, which shell is often tastefully engraved 
with the usual zigzag patterns, whilst its dazzling whiteness 
forms a very striking contrast with the blackness of the skin.* 
On reaching puberty, the Tankhul Nagas assume, instead of 
a shell, a horn or ivory ring from an eighth to a quarter of an 
inch in breadth ; being apparently of opinion that exposure, if 
so attended, is not a matter to be ashamed of.* Some of the 
Brazilian Tupis, according to Castelnau, " mentulam inserunt 
in annulum ligneum, unde apellantur Porrudos, i.e. men- 
tulati ;"* and, in several of the South Sea Islands, those parts of 
the body which civilized people are most anxious to conceal, are 
decorated with tattoos.* De indigenis Tanembaris et Timorlao- 
nis dum loquitur Riedel, adulescentes et puellas dicit saepe 
consulto abradere pilos pubis nulla alia mente, nisi ut illae partes 
alteri sexui magis conspicuae fiant.^ 

Above all, the practice of circumcision should be noticed in 
this connection, since, as I believe, it owes its origin to the 
same cause. It is by no means a specifically Jewish custom, 
but is widely spread over the earth. It is in use among all the 
Mohammedan peoples, among most of the tribes inhabiting 
the African West Coast, among the Kafirs, among nearly all 

. * Moseley, in * Jour. Antbr. Inst,' vol. vi. pp. 397,^/ seq, Labillardi^re, 
loc. cit, voL i. pp. 279, et seg. 

* Watt, in ' Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xvi. p. 365. Dr. Brown, however, 
thinks that this custom serves another end. 

' v. Martius, he. ciL vol. i. p. 211. 

* Atooi (Cook, 'Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,* vol. ii. pp. 192, 232), 
Tonga (Martin, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 266), Samoa (Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. 
vol. vi. p. 34), Vaitupu {ibid.y vol. v. pt. ii. p. 188), Fiji (Wilkes, loc. cit. 
vol. iii. p. 355). The natives of Ponap^ have their lower extremities most 
richly tattooed, and, to quote Dr. Finsch (* Die Bewohner von Ponap^/ 
in 'Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' voL xii. pp. 311, 314), 'als Basis und Mittelpunkt 
der Zeichnung dieser Partien ist ein viereckiges Feld zu betrachten, 
welches die Gegend des Venusberges bedeckt und von der Behaarung 
unmittelbar beginnend, etwas iiber denselben hinausreicht.' 

* Riedel, loc. cit. p. 293. Cf. Zimmermann, loc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 189, et 
seg, (Papuans). 


the peoples of Eastern Africa, among the Christian Abyssin- 
ians, Bogos, and Copts,^ throughout all the various tribes 
inhabiting Madagascar,^ and, in the heart of the Black Con- 
tinent, among the Monbuttu and Akka. Moreover, it is 
practised very commonly in Australia, in many islands 
of Melanesia,* and in Polynesia universally. It has also 
been met with in some parts of America : in Yucatan,* on the 
^^ Orinoco,^ and among certain tribes in the Rio Branco in 

^ Brazil.® The Jews, Mohammedans,^ Abyssinians,® and some 

other peoples being excepted, it is always performed when 
the boy attains manhood — ue,y at the same age as that at 
which he is tattooed or painted, or begins to dress and adorn 
himself. Indeed, through the operation of circumcision, the 
boy becomes a man, and, where it is wanting, some other 
operation or deformation of the body supplies its place.* 
Thus, in Australia, some tribes practise circumcision, others 
knock out teeth, when the youth becomes virile. ^^ Where 
circumcision is in use it is generally considered an indis- 
pensable preliminary to marriage, " uncircumcised " being a 
bad word, and the women often refusing all intercourse with 
such a man." 

Several different explanations of this custom have been 
suggested.^^ Some authors believe that it is due to hygienic 
motives. But circumcised and uncircumcised peoples live 
under the same conditions in the same neighbourhood side by 

* Andree, • Die Beschneidung,' in * Archiv fiir Anthropologie,* voL xii". 
p. 74. The following statements, when other references are not given, 
are borrowed from this paper. ' Sibree, ioc, ciL p. 217. 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc, ciL vol. vi. pp. 560, et seq, 

* Lafitau, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 412. 

^ V. Martius, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 582, note. 

® Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,* p. 517. 

7 * Das Ausland,* 1875, P« 95^' ® Parkyns, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 38. 

^ Andree, in * Archiv f. Anthr.,' vol. xiii. p. 58. 

" Angas, * Savage Life,' vol. ii. p. 216. 

*^ Andree, in 'Archiv f. Anthr.,' vol. xiii. p. 75. Bastian, 'Rechts- 
verhaltnisse,' p. xx. 

** See, for instance, Burton, * Notes on the Dahoman,' in * Memoirs 
Read before the Anthr. Soc. of London,' vol. i. p. 318; WaiU-Gcrland, 
vol. vi. pp. 41, 784 ; Miiller, * Allgemeine Ethnographic,' pp. 337, et seq. ; 
Reade, loc. cit. pp. 539, et seq. 


side, without any difference in their physical condition.^ Mr. 
Sturt remarks that, in Australia, "you would meet with a 
tribe with which that custom did not prevail, between two 
with which it did."* Moreover, as Mr. Spencer observes, 
while the usage does not exist among the most cleanly races 
in the world, it is common among the most uncleanly.^ 
Among the Damaras and Bechuanas, the boys are circumcised, 
though these peoples are described as exceedingly filthy in 
their habits,^ and so also among the people of Madagascar 
and the Malays, who are far from being so cleanly as might 
be desired.* 

Again, according to Mr. Spencer, circumcision involves an 
offering to the gods. He suggests that in the first instance 
vanquished enemies were mutilated in order that a specially 
valuable trophy after a battle might be presented to the king 
Then, ** in a highly militant society governed by a divinely- 
descended despot, ... we may expect that the presentation to 
the king of these trophies taken from enslaved enemies, will 
develop into the offering to the god of like trophies taken from 
each generation of male citizens in acknowledgmient of their 
slavery to him." * This conclusion Mr. Spencer draws from 
the single fact that, " among the Abyssinians, the trophy taken 
by circumcision from an enemy's dead body is presented by 
each warrior to his chief." But there is no evidence whatever 
that this curious custom is of common occurrence. Circum- 
cision is spread over a very large part of the earth, and 
prevails even in societies which are not "governed by a 
divinely-descended despot," who could require all his subjects 
to bear this badge of servitude. With regard to the Australian 
aborigines, many tribes of whom practice circumcision, Mr. 
Curr says, " On the subject of government (by which I mean 
the habitual exercise of authority, by one or a few individuals, 
over a community or a body of persons) I have made many 

^ Andree, in * Archiv f. Anthr.,' vol. xiii. p. 78. 

* Sturt, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 140. ' Spencer, * Sociologfy,' vol. ii. p. 67. 

* Galton, ' The Narrative of an Explorer in Tropical South Africa, 
pp. 192, et seq, Andersson, loc, cit, p. 465. 

• Sibree, loc, cit, p. 160. Crawfurd, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 39. 

• Spencer, vol. ii. p. 67. 


inquiries and received written replies from the observers 
of about a hundred tribes to the effect that none exists. 
Indeed, no fact connected with our tribes seems better 
established." ^ Since there is nothing to indicate that there 
ever was a different state of things in Australia, how are we 
to reconcile these facts with the interpretation offered by Mr. 
Spencer ? 

In the Book of Genesis the practice of circumcision is 
presented as a religious rite, deriving its origin from 
a command of God. But among most peoples it appears 
to have little, if any, religious significance.* Sometimes, 
indeed, it is performed by a priest of the community, but, as 
Herr Andree justly remarks, this has no necessary relation to 
the question, the priests generally being the {Aysicians of 
savage tribes. * Moreover, as has already been pointed out, 
almost every ancestral custom may by degrees take a religious 
character. Thus, the ancient Peruvians* habit of enlarging 
the lobe of the ear, so as to enable it to carry ear-tubes of 
great size, is supposed to have been connected with sun- 
worship ; for Spanish historians mention that elaborate 
religious ceremonies were held at the Temple of the Sun at 
Cuzco, on the occasion of the boring of the ears of young 
Peruvian nobles. * But we should not be warranted in 
inferring that this custom had originally anything to do 
with religion. With regard to circumcision among the 
Jews, I agree with Herr Andree that its religious character 
was almost certainly of a comparatively late date. * 

The peoples among whom this practice prevails are them- 
selves unable to give any adequate account of its origin. With 
reference to the circumcision of the Southern Africans, the 
Rev. H. H. Dugmore says that they do not know how it began, 
and that they have no traditionary remembrances about it, 

* Curr, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 60. Cf. Eyre, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 315 ; Oldfield 
in * Trans. £thn. Soc.,' N. S, vol. iii. p. 256. 

* Cf, Lane, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 320 (Copts) ; Sibree, /<?r. cit, p. 217 (people 
of Madagascar) ; Maclean, loc, cit, p. 157 (Kafirs). 

* Andree, in * Archiv f. Anthr.,' vol. xiii. p. 75. 

* Fytche, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 65 « note. 

* Andree, in * Archiv f. Anthr.,' vol. xiii. p. yj^ 


except that it has prevailed as a national custom from genera- 
tion to generation. " Our forefathers did so, and therefore we 
do the same/' is all that the present generation can say about 
the matter.^ 

That the practice of circumcision arose from the same 
desire as that which led to other kinds of mutilation, is 
rendered more probable by the fact that disfiguration is 
sometimes effected in quite a different way. Novae Zealan- 
diae incolas Cook narrat non solum se non circumcidere, sed 
contra tam necessarium habere praeputium, ut anteriorem 
eius partem redimire soleant ligamento, quo glandem penis 
tegant.* The same curious usage is met with in some other 
Islands of the South Sea ; * and in Brazil, according to Dr. Karl 
von den Steinen, among the Trumaf.* Indigenae Portus 
Lincoln pueros pubertatem ingressos mirum in modum se- 
cant : quarzi fragmento penem ex ore secundum inferiorem 
partem usque ad scrotum incidunt itaque totum longitudinis 
spatium detegunt.* In defence of this practice, says Mr. 
Schiirmann, the natives have nothing to suggest except that 
** it was observed by their forefathers, and must therefore be 
upheld by themselves."* In Ponap^, boys are always subjected 
to semi-castration, as Dr. Finsch remarks, in order to prevent 
the possibility of orchitis, and, further, because the girls con- 
sider men thus disfigured handsomer and more attractive than 
others. According to Captain Wright, the same custom pre- 
vails in Niutabutabu, of the Tonga Islands.^ 

Among many peoples of Africa, and in certain tribes of the 
Malay Archipelago and South America, the girls also undergo 
a sort of circumcision, and this is looked upon as an in- 

* Maclean, Z^^. ciL p. 157. 

* Cook, * Journal of a Voyage,' p. 106. 

' Atooi, of the Sandwich Islands {idem^ 'Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,* 
vol. ii. p. 233), Nukahiva (Lisiansky, ioc, ciL pp. Z^^ tt seq.)^ &c. (Waitz- 
Cerland, he. at vol. vi. pp. 28, 565, 576). 

* ' Verhandl. Berl. Ges. Anthr.,' 1885, p. 96, 

* The same kind of mutilation, spoken of by Mr. Curr as ' the terrible 
rite,' occurs among several other Australian tribes (Curr, loc, cit. vol. i. 
p. 75. Mathew, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 411). 

6 Schiirmann, loc. cit, p. 231. 

7 Finsch, in 'Zeitschr. t Ethnol.,' vol. xii. p. 316. 


dispensable preliminary to marriage.^ Sunt autem gentes, 
quanim contrarius mos est, ut clitoris et labia minora non ex- 
secentur, verum extendantur, et saepe longissime extendantur. 
Atque istaetiam deformatioinsigne pulchritudinis existimatur.^ 
De indigenis Ponapdis haec adnotat Dr. Finsch : labia interna 
longius extenta et pendentia puellis et uxoribus singulare 
sunt incitamentum, quae res eodem modo se habet apud alias 
gentes, ut apud Hottentottas.* 

It certainly seems strange that such deformities should have 
been originally intended to improve the appearance. But we 
must remember the rough taste of savages, and the wish for 
variety so deeply rooted in human nature. These practices 
evidently began at a time when man went in a state of perfect 
nudity. The mutilations, as the eyes became accustomed to 
them, gradually ceased to be interesting, and continued to be 
inflicted merely through the fprce of habit, or from a religious 
motive. A new stimulus was then invented, parts of the 
body which had formerly been exposed being hidden by a 
scanty covering : as the Chinese women at first had their feet 
pressed in order to excite admiration, but afterwards began 
to conceal them from coquetry, or as the Tassai beauties, 
though entirely naked otherwise, wear two or three petticoats 
one over another.* 

How, then, are we to explain the connection which un- 
doubtedly exists between nakedness and the feeling of shame ? 
The hypothesis here set forth cannot be regarded as fully 
established until this question is answered. 

** The ideas of modesty," Forster truly says, " are different 
in every country, and change in different periods of time."* 
As V. Humboldt remarks, " A woman in some parts of Asia is 

^ Abyssinians (Waitz, loc. ciU vol. ii. p. 504), Barea (Munzinger, lo(. 
cit, p. 528), Negroes of Benin and Sierra Leone (Bosman, loc, cit, p. 526. 
Griffith, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' voL xvi. pp. 308, et seq,)^ Mandingoes 
(Waitz, vol. ii. p. in), Bechuanas (Holub, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 398), Kafirs 
(v. Weber, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 218), Malays of Java (PIoss, *Das Wcib,' 
vol. i. p. 146), Indians of Peru (/A^V/., vol.i.p.146}. ' Floss, vol. i. p. 143. 

^ Finsch, in 'Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. xii. p. 316. 

* Macgillivray, loc. cit vol. i. p. 263. 

* Forster, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 383. 


not permitted to show the ends of her fingers ; while an 
Indian of the Carribean race is far from considering herself 
naked, when she wears a * guajuco ' two inches broad. Even 
this band is regarded as a ^ess essential part of dress than the 
pigment which covers the skin. To go out of the hut with- 
out being painted with arnotta, is to transgress all the rules of 
Caribbean decency."^ In Tahiti, a person not properly 
tattooed would "be as much reproached and shunned, as if 
with us he should go about the streets naked ; *'* and, in Tonga 
also, the men would think it very indecent not to be tattooed.^ 

M. Letourneau reports that, at Basra on the Euphrates, it 
was the duty of a woman, if surprised when taking her bath, 
to turn her face ; no further concealment was considered 
necessary.* The same habit prevailed among the fellah 
women in Egypt ;* while, in Arabia, accordiing to Ebers, a 
woman acts even more indecorously in uncovering the back of 
the head than in uncovering the face, though this also is care- 
fully hidden.® 

The Tubori women in Central Africa wear only a narrow 
strap, to which is attached a twig hanging down behind ; but 
they feel greatly ashamed if the twig happens to fall off.^ A 
Chinese woman, as previously stated, is not permitted by the 
laws of modesty to show her feet ; and the Samoans considered 
it most disgraceful to expose the navel.® The savage tribes 
of Sumatra and Celebes have a like feeling about the ex- 
posure of the knee, which is always carefully covered.* Speak- 
ing of the horrible mouth adornment worn by the women of 
Port des Fran^ais (Alaska), which makes the lower part of 
the mouth jut out two or three inches. La P^rouse remarks, 
'* We sometimes prevailed on them to pull off this ornament, 
to which they with difficulty agreed ; they then testified the 
same embarrassment, and made the same gestures, as a woman 

* V. Humboldt, loc. cit vol. vi. pp. 12, et seq, 

* Lubbock, ' Prehistoric Times,' p. 477. 

* Martin, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 267. * Letourneau, ' Sociology,' p. 59. 

* Waitz, * Introduction to Anthropology,* p. 301. 

* Ebers, * Durch Gosen zum Sinai,' p. 45. 

^ ' Dr. E. VogeFs Reise nach Central-Afrika,' in Petermann's * Mit- 
theilungen aus Justus Perthes* geographischer Anstalt,' 1857, p. 138. 

* Peschel, loc, cit. p. 172.. • Crawfurd, loc, cit, voL i. p. 209. 


in Europe who discovers her bosom."^ Et Polynesios, quam- 
quam eum tenent morem, nullam ut aliam corporis partem 
nisi glandem penis tegant, hanc tamen nudare vehementer 
pudet Ita Lisiansky animadvertit indigenas Nukahivae, qui 
praeputium peni abductum habent et extremam eius partem 
lino constrictam, linum illud magni aestimare manifesto ap- 
parere. " Accidit enim," inquit» " ut frater regis, ubi navem 
meam ascendit, linum amitteret, qua occasione mala quam 
maxime angebatur. Qui cum constratum navis ingrederetur, 
ilia re commotus partem non redimitam manibus velavit"^ 
Dr. Moseley asserts that the Admiralty Islanders, who wear 
nothing but a shell, always cover themselves hastily on 
removing the shell for barter, and evidently consider that 
they are exposing themselves either indecently or irreligiously, 
if they show themselves perfectly nude.* The Kubus of 
Sumatra have a tradition that they are descendants of the 
youngest of three brothers, the first and second of whom were 
circumcised in the usual way, while it was found that no 
instruments would circumcise the third. This so ashamed 
him that he betook himself to the woods.* 

Ideas of modesty, therefore, are altogether relative and 
conventional. Peoples who are accustomed to tattoo them- 
selves are ashamed to appear untattooed ; peoples whose 
women are in the habit of covering their faces consider such 
a covering indispensable for every respectable woman ; peoples 
who for one reason or another have come to conceal the navel, 
the knee, the bosom, or other parts, blush to reveal what is 
hidden. It is not the feeling of shame that has provoked 
the covering, but the covering that has provoked the feeling 
of shame. 

This feeling. Dr. Bain remarks, " is resolved by a reference 
to the dread of being condemned, or ill-thought of, by others.*'* 
Such dread is undoubtedly one of the most powerful motives 

* La Pdrouse, * Voyage round the World,' vol. ii. p. 142. 
^ Lisiansky, loc, cit pp. 85, et seq, 

3 Moseley, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst./ vol. vL p. 398. Cf, Labillardi^e, 
loc, ciL vol i. pp. 279, et seq, 

* Forbes, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst,* vol. xiv. pp. 125, et seq, 

* Bain, * The Emotions and the Will/ p. 211. 


of human action. Speaking of the Greenlanders, Cranz says 
that the mainspring of all that they do is their fear of being 
blamed or mocked by other men.^ Among savages, custom 
is a tyrant as potent as law has ever been in civilized 
societies, every deviation from a usage which has taken root 
among the people being laughed to scorn, or regarded with 
disdain. The young ladies of Balonda, wholly unconscious of 
their own deficiency, could not maintain their g^ravity at the 
sight of the naked backs of Livingstone's men. *' Much to 
the annoyance of my companions," he says, **the young 
girls laughed outright whenever their backs were turned to 
them, for the Balonda men wear a dress consisting ot 
skins of small animals, hanging before and behind from a 
girdle round the loins."* By degrees a custom is associated 
with religion, and then becomes even more powerful than 
before. Mr. Williams tells us of a Fijian priest, who, like all 
his countrymen, was satisfied with a " masi," or scanty hip- 
cloth, but on hearing a description of the naked inhabitants 
of New Caledonia and of their idols, exclaimed, contemptu- 
ously, " Not have a * masi,' and yet pretend to have gods ! "* 
And, as Peschel remarks, " were a pious Mussulman of Fer- 
ghana to be present at our balls, and see the bare shoulders of 
our wives and daughters, and the semi-embraces of our round 
dances, he would silently wonder at the long-suffering of 
Allah, who had not long ago poured fire and brimstone on 
this sinful and shameless generation."^ 

Covering the nakedness has, for the reason already pointed 
out, become a very common practice among savage peoples ; 
among those of the tropics, no other sort of clothing is 
generally in Hence, through the power of custom, the 
feeling of shame aroused by the exposure of the nakedness 
If this is the true explanation, some may be disposed to infer 
that savages who, for the sake of cold, cover almost the entire 
body, will feel ashamed to bare even such parts as may else- 
where be shown without compunction. But this would be to 
overlook the essential fact that the heat of their dwellings, where 
they spend most of the winter, and the warmth of the summer 

' Fries, * Gronland,' p. 109. * Livingstone, loc, dt, p. 305. 

Peschel, loc, cit, p. 171. * ibid., p. 171. 



* I - I I I  I 

sun, in many cases make it necessary for them, as they think, 
to throw off all their clothes. When this is done, they seem to 
be devoid of any sense of shame. Thus, the Aleuts undress 
themselves completely in their warm jurts, and men and 
women have for ages been accustomed to bathe together in 
the sea ; " they do not think of there being any immodesty in 
it, yet any immorality is exceedingly rare among them.*'^ 
The TacuUies, who usually take off their clothes in summer, 
though they are well clad in winter, manifest, according to 
Harmon, as little sense of shame in regard to uncovering " as 
the very brute creation." ^ The Eskimo of Etah, who in the 
winter are enveloped to the face in furs, nevertheless, 
according to Kane's description, completely put aside their 
garments in their subterranean dwellings; ^ and the demeanour 
of the wife of Hans the Eskimo on board Hayes's ship, 
plainly showed that she had no idea of decency. * 

On the other hand, we know that peoples living in warm 
climates who cover only the nakedness are utterly ashamed to 
expose it. The Andamanese, although they wear as little 
clothing as possible, exhibit a delicacy that amounts to 
prudishness, the women of the tribes of South Andaman being 
so modest that they will not remove their small apron of 
leaves, or put anything in its place, in the presence of any 
person, even of their own sex.* Speaking of the Fijians, 
Wilkes asserts that, " though almost naked, these natives have 
a great idea of modesty, and consider it extremely indelicate 
to expose the whole person. If either a man or woman 

* Georgi, loc, cit. pp. 364, etseq, Dall, loc, cit pp. 139, 397. 
^ Harmon, loc, cit, p. 286. 

* Kane, 'Arctic Explorations,' vol. ii. p. 114. On the East Coast of 
Greenland, according to Dr. Nansen {loc. ciL vol. i. p. 338 ; vol. ii. pi 277), 
the Eskimo, men and women alike, when indoors, are completely ralced. 
with the exception of the 'nitit,' a narrow band about the loir%\ of 
dimensions ' so extremely small as to make it practically invisible Xo'^ie 
stranger's inexperienced eye.' Many, indeed, assume some cov^r^ 
when Europeans enter their dwellings, but Dr. Nansen thinks this mst 
be rather from affectation, and a desire to please their visitors, thaTx fV m 
any real feeling of modesty {jHd.^ vol. ii. pp. 277, et seg.), 

^ Peschel, loc. cit. p. 175. 

* Man, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xii. pp. 330, ef seq. 



should be discovered without the * maro/ or * liku,* they would 
probably be killed."^ The female natives of Nukahiva have 
only one small covering, but are so tenacious of it that the 
most licentious will not consent tp take it off* Among those 
Australian tribes, in which a covering is worn by the women, 
they will retire out of sight to bathe.* In Lukunor and 
Radack, men and women never appear naked together ;* and 
among the Pelew Islanders, according to Semper, the women 
have an unlimited privilege of striking, fining, or, if it be done 
on the spot, killing any man who makes his way in to their 

These facts appear to prove that the feeling of shame, far 
from being the original cause of man's covering his body, 
is, on the contrary, a result of this custom ; and that the 
covering, if not used as a protection from the climate, owes 
its origin, at least in a great many cases, to the desire of men 
and women to make themselves mutually attractive. To 
some readers it may perhaps seem probable that the covering 
of the nakedness was originally due to the feeling which 
makes intimate relations between the sexes, even among 
savages, a more or less secret matter. But, whilst this feeling 
is universal in mankind, there are, as we have seen, a great 
many peoples who attach no idea of shame to the entire ex- 
posure of the body, and these peoples are otherwise not less 
modest than those who cover themselves. Their number is, 
indeed,. so great that we cannot regard the absence of shame 
as a reversion or perversion ; and it may be asserted with 
perfect confidence that the modesty which shows itself in 
covering is not an instinct in the same sense as that in which 
the aversion to incest, for example, is an instinct, — an aversion 
to which sexual bashfulness seems to be very closely related. 
Travellers have observed that, among various naked tribes, 
women exhibit a strong sense of modesty through various 
attitudes. But these attitudes may, like concealment by 
clothing, have been originally due to coquetry. They imply 

^ Wilkes, loc, ciL vol. iii. p. 356. 

* Lisiansky, loc, cit. p. 86. ^ Curr, loc. at. vol. i. p. 99. 

* "Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. v. pt. ii. p. 105. 

* Semper, * Die Palau-Inseln,* p. 68. 

P 2 


a vivid consciousness of certain facts, and the exhibition of 
this consciousness is far from being a mark of modesty. It 
may, further, be supposed that decent covering was adopted 
for the protection of parts^ specially liable to injury. This 
may hold good for some cases ; but the general prevalence of 
circumcision even among naked tribes shows that savages are 
not particularly anxious about the safety of their persons. 



It would be easy to adduce numerous instances of savage 
and barbarous tribes among whom a girl is far from having 
the entire disposal of her own hand. Being regarded as an 
object of property, she is treated accordingly. 

Among many peoples the female children are usually 
" engaged " in their earliest youth. Concerning the Eskimo 
to the north of Churchill, Franklin states that, " as soon as a 
girl is bom, the young lad who wishes to have her for a wife 
goes to her father's tent and proffers himself. If accepted, a 
promise is given which is considered binding, and the girl is 
delivered to her betrothed at the proper age."^ Early 
betrothals are among the established customs of the Chippe- 
wyas,2 Columbians,* Botocudos,* Patagonians,* and other 
American peoples.^ Among the African Marutse, the child- 
ren '^ are often affianced at an early age, and the marriage 

* Franklin, 'Journey,' p. 263. For early engagements among other 
Eskimo tribes, see Hall, 'Arctic Researches,' p. 567; *Das Ausland,' 
1 88 1, p. 698; Cranz, loc, cit vol. i. p. 146; Waitz, loc. cit, vol. iii. 

p. y^. 

^ Richardson, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 23. Mackenzie, loc, cit p. cxxiii. 

' Bancroft, loc. cit. vol. i. pp. 276, et seq. (Inland Columbians). Mayne, 
' Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island,' p. 276 (Nutkas). 

* v. Martius, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 322. 

* Falkner, loc, cit. p. 124. ' King and Fitzroy, loc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 152, 
et seq. 

* Shoshones (Lewis and Clarke, * Travels to the Source of the Missouri 
River,* p. 307), Arawaks (Schomburgk, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 460. Brett, 
loc. cit. pp. 99, et seq.)y Macusfs (v, Martius, vol. i. p. 645). 


is consummated as soon as the girl arrives at maturity."^ 
The Negroes of the Gold Coast, according to Bosman, often 
arranged for the marriage of infants directly after birth ;* 
whilst, among the Bushmans, Bechuanas, and Ashantees, 
children are engaged when they are still in the womb, in the 
event of their proving to be girls.* 

In Australia, too, girls are frequently promised in early 
youth, and sometimes before they are born.* The same is the 
case in New Guinea,* New Zealand,® Tahiti,^ and many other 
islands of the South Sea, as also among several of the tribes 
inhabiting the Malay Archipelago.® Mariner supposed that, 
in Tonga, about one-third of the married women had been thus 
betrothed.* In British India infant-marriage has hitherto 
been a common custom ; and all peoples of the Turkish stocki 
according to Professor VAmb^ry, are in the habit of betroth- 
ing babies.^® So also are the Samoyedes ^^ and Tuski ; i* 
and, among the Jews of Western Russia, parents betroth the 
children whom they hope to have.'* 

Among some peoples, it is the mother,^* brother,^* or ma- 

^ Holub, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 314. ^ Bosman, loc, cit, p. 424. 

' Burchell, loc, cit vol. ii. pp. 58, 564. Beecham, 'Ashantee and the 
Gold Coast,' p. 126. 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit vol. vi. p. 772. Wilkes, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 195. 
Sturt, loc. cit vol. ii. pp. 284, et seq, Bonney, in * Jour. Anlhr. Inst.,' 
vol. xiii. pp. 129, 301. Cameron, ibid., vol. xiv. p. 352. 

* Finsch, loc. cit pp. 102, 116. Guillemard, loc. cit p. 389. 

* Angas, * Savage Life/ voL i. p. 314. 

"^ Ellis, * Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. pp. 267, 270. 

8 In the Kingsmill Islands (Wilkes, loc. cit vol. v. p. 102), Fiji {ibid.^ 
voL iii. p. 92), Hudson's Island (Turner, 'Samoa,' p. 290), Nukahiva 
(Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit vol. vi. p. 127), Solomon Islands (Zimmennann, 
loc. cit vol. ii. p. 90), New Caledonia (Turner, p. 340), New Britain 
(Powell, loc. at p. 85), Java (* Das Ausland,' 1881, p. 569), Bum (Riedel, 
loc, cit p. 21), and among the Bataks, Sundanese, and other Malay 
peoples (Hickson, loc. cit p. 270. Wilken, in * Bijdragen,' &c., sen v. 
vol. i. pp. 161-167). » Martin, loc. cit voL ii. p. 167. 

^^ Vdmbdry, *Das Turkenvolk,' p. 109. " * Ymer,' vol. iii. p. 144, 

** Hooper, loc. cit p. 209. " Andree, loc. cit p. 141. 

" Kutchin (Hardisty, in * Smith. Rep.,' 1866, p. 312), Chippcwas 
(Keating, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 157), Iroquois (Morgan, 'League of the 
Iroquois,' p. 320), Simoos (Bovallius, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 301). 

*^ Guarayos (v. Martius, loc. cit vol. i. p. 217), Hos (Dalton, loc. czi 

■«t»— -OEJ^' — 


ternal uncle,^ who has the chief power of giving a girl in 
marriage. In Timor-laut, Mr. Forbes says, ** nothing can be 
done of such import as the disposal of a daughter without the 
advice, assistance, and witness of all the villagers, women and 
youths being admitted as freely to speak as the elder males ; "* 
and in West Australia, according to Mr. Oldfield, the con- 
sent of the whole tribe is necessary for a girl's marriage.* 
Yet such cases are no doubt rare exceptions, and give us no 
right to conclude that there ever was a time when children 
were generally considered the property of the tribe, or of 
their maternal kinsfolk. 

It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that, among the 
lower races, women are, as a rule, married without having 
any voice of their own in the matter. Their liberty of 
selection, on the contrary, is very considerable, and, however 
down-trodden, they well know how to make their influence 
felt. Thus, among the Indians of North America, numberless 
instances are given of woman's liberty to choose her husband. 
Schoolcraft asserts that their marriages are brought about 
" sometimes with, and sometimes against, the wishes of the 
graver and more prudent relatives of the parties," the marital 
rite consisting chiefly in the consent of the parties.* Hecke- 
welder quotes instances of Indians who committed suicide 
because they had been disappointed in love, the girls on 
whom they had fixed their choice, and to whom they were 
engaged, having changed their minds, and married other 
lovers.* Among the Kaniagmuts, Thlinkets, and Nutkas, 
the suitor has to consult the wishes of the young lady.® 
Among the Chippewas, according to Mr. Keating, the 
mothers generally settle the preliminaries to marriage without 

pp. 201,^/ seq,)y Maoris (Waitz-Gerland^ loc, cit, vol. vi. p. 125), Fijians 
(Wilkes, loc, cit. voL iii. p. 91). ^ See ante^ p. 40. 

* Forbes, 'On the Ethnology of Timor-laut,' in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' 
vol. xiii. p. J I. 

3 Oldfield, in ' Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. iii. p. 248. 
Schoolcraft, * The Indian in his Wigwam,' p. 72. Cf. Catlin, loc, ciL 
vol. L p. 120; Adair, loc. cit. p. 141. ^ Buchanan, loc. cit. p. 184. 

• Sauer, loc. cit, p. 177. Holmberg, in 'Acta Soc Sci. Fennicac,' vol. 
iv. p. 314. Macfie, 'Vancouver Island and British Columbia,' p. 447. 
Wilkes, vol. iv. p. 457 (Indians of the Interior of Oregon). 


consulting the children ; but the parties are not considered 
husband and wife till they have given their consent.^ The 
Atkha Aleuts occasionally betrothed their children to each 
other, but the marriage was held to be binding only after the 
birth of a child.* Among the Creeks, if a man desires to 
make a woman his wife ** conformably to the more ancient 
and serious custom of the country," he endeavours to gain 
her own consent by regular courtship.' Among the Pueblos,* 
&c.,* " no girl is forced to marry against her will, however 
eligible her parents may consider the match." 

As to the South American Guanis, Azara states, " Aucune 
femme ne consent k se marier, sans avoir fait ses stipulations 
pr^liminaires tr^s-d6taill6es avec son pr^tendu, et avec son 
pire et ses parents, k regard de leur genre de vie r^ciproque."* 
In Tierra del Fuego, according to Lieutenant Bove, the 
eagerness with which the women seek for young husbands is 
surprising, but even more surprising is the fact that they 
nearly always attain their endsJ Speaking of the same 
people, Mr. Bridges says, " It frequently happens that there 
is inseparable aversion on the girl's part to her husband, and 
she leaves him, and if she persists in hating him she is then 
given to one she likes." ® It is, indeed, common in America 
for a girl to run away from a bridegroom forced upon her 
by the parents ; ® whilst, if they refuse to give their daughter 
to a suitor whom she loves, the couple elope. ^® Thus, among 
the Dacotahs, as we are told by Mr. Prescott, "there are 
many matches made by elopement, much to the chagrin of 
the parents/*^^ 

* Keating, loc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 157, et seq, * Petroflf, loc, ciL p. 158. 
' Schoolcraft, loc. cit, vol. v. p. 269. 

* Bancroft, loc. cit, vol. i. pp. 549, note 206. 

^ Shawanese (Ashe, loc, cit, p. 249), Comanches (Waitz, lac cit, vol. iv. 
p. 216), Patagonians (Musters, loc, cit, p. 186). 

* Azara, loc, cit. voL ii. p. 92. ' * Ymer,' vol. iii. p. 91- 
® Bridges, in * A Voice for South America,' vol. xiii. p. 184. Cf. King 

and Fitzroy, loc, cit, voL ii. p. 182. 

^ Fries, loc, cit. p. in (Greenlanders). Brett, loc cit, p. 354 (Caribs). 
DobrizhofTer, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 207 (Abipones). King and Fitzroy, vol. ii. 
p. 153 (Patagonians). 

'*^ Harmon, loc, cit. p. 341 (Blackfeet, Qiippewyas, Crees, &c.). School* 
craft, vol. V. p. 683 (Comanches). ^^ Schoolcraft, vol iii. p. 238. 


In Australia it is the rule that a father alone can give 
away his daughter, and, according to Mr. Curr, the woman 
herself has no voice in the selection of her husband.^ But, 
with reference to the Narrinyeri, Mr. Taplin states that, 
'' although the consent of a female is not considered a matter 
of the first importance, as, indeed, is the case in many un- 
civilized nations, yet it is always regarded as desirable."* 
, Among the Kurnai, according to Mr. Howitt, she decidedly 
enjoys the freedom of choice. Should the parents refuse their 
consent, she goes away with her lover, and if they can remain 
away till the girl is with child she may, it is said, expect to 
be forgiven. Otherwise it may become necessary for them to 
elope two or three times before they are pardoned, the family 
at length becoming tired of objecting.* Mr. Mathews asserts 
that, with varying details, marriage by mutual consent will 
be found among other tribes also, though it is not completed 
except by means of a runaway match.* Elopement under- 
taken with the consent of the woman is, indeed, and has 
been, a recognized institution among at least some of the 
aboriginal tribes in Australia. Among the Kurnai it is the 

The Maoris have a proverb, " As a kahawai (a fish which 
is very particular in selecting the hook that most resembles 
its food) selects the hook which pleases it best out of a great 
number, so also a woman chooses one man out of many." * 
Mariner supposed that, in Tonga, perhaps two-thirds of the 
girls had married with their own free consent.^ Concerning 
the natives of Arorae, Mr. Turner says, " In choosing a 
husband the lady sat in the lower room of the house, and 
over her head were let down through the chinks of the floor 
of the upper room two or three cocoa-nut leaflets, the ends 
of which were held by her lovers. She pulled at one, and 

* Curr, loc, cit vol. i. p. 108. * Taplin, loc, cit, p. la 
' Fison and Howitt, loc. cit pp. 234, 243. 

* Mathews, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 407. Cf. 
Dawson, loc. cit p. 34 (tribes of Western Victoria) ; Lumholtz, loc. cit. 
p. 213 (natives of Northern Queensland). 

* Fison and Howitt, pp. 276, 280, 289, 348 — 354. 

* Taylor, loc. cit. p. 299. 

^ Martin, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 167. Cf. Zimmermann, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 456^ 


asked whose it was. If the reply was not in the voice of 
the young man she wished to have, she left it and pulled at 
another leaf, and another, until she found him, and then 
pulled it right down. The happy man whose leaf she pulled 
down sat still, while the others slunk away."^ In the Society 
Islands, the women of the middle and lower ranks had the 
power to choose husbands according to their own wishes ; 
and that the women of the highest classes sometimes asserted 
the same right appears from the addresses a chief of Eimeo 
had to pay to the object of his attachment before she could 
be induced to accept his offer.* In Radack, "marriages 
depend on a free convention," as seems to be generally the 
case in Micronesia.* In the New Britain Group, according to 
Mr. Romilly, after the man has worked for years to pay for 
his wife, and is finally in a position to take her to his house, 
she may refuse to go, and he cannot claim back from the 
parents the large sums he has paid them in yams, cocoa-nuts, 
and sugar-canes.* With reference to the New Caledonian 
girl, M. Moncelon remarks, " EUe est consultde quelquefois, 
mais souvent est forc^e d'ob^ir. Alors elle fuit 4 chaque 
instant pour rejoindre Thomme qu*elle pr^ffere." ^ 

In the Indian Archipelago, according to Professor Wilken, 
most marriages are contracted by the mutual consent of the 
parties.® Among the Dyaks, "the unmarried girls are at 
perfect liberty to choose their mates."^ In some parts of Java, 

' Turner, * Samoa,' pp. 295^ et seq- 

2 Ellis, * Polynesian Researches,* vol. i. pp. 270, 267, et seq, Cf, Waiu- 
Gerland, loc, cit, vol. vi. pp. 99, et seq. 
' Kotzebue, loc, cit, voL iii. p. 172. Waitz-Gerland, vol. v. pt. ii. p. 105. 

* Romilly, in ' Proc. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' N. S. vol. ix. {). 10. 

* Moncelon, in * Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' ser. iii, vol. ix, p. 368. In Samoa 
(Turner, ' Samoa/ pp. 95, et seq. Cf. ibid,^ pp. 92, 132 ; Turner, * Nine- 
teen Years in Polynesia,* p. 188 ; Pritchard, loc, cit, pp. 135, et seq.) and 
the Kingsmill Islands (Wilkes, loc, cit, voL v. p. loi), el'i^meiits fre- 
quently take place, and the parents, however mortified they nSy be, have 
to submit. In Fiji, according to Wilkes (vol. iii, p. 92. QC^itchard, 
pp. 269, et seq. ; Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 632), forced marrilvs arc 
comparatively rare in the higher classes. 

* Wilken, in * Bijdragen/ &c,, ser. v. vol. i, p. 159. 

^ Boyle, * Adventures among the Dyaks of Borneo,* p. 236. Cy; Bri^» 
* Ten Years in Sarawak,* vol. i. p. 69. 



much deference is paid to the bride's inclinations ;^ and, 
among the Minahassers of Celebes, courtship or love-making 
"is always strictly an affair of the heart and not in 
any way dependent upon the consent or even wish of the 
parents.'*^ Similar statements are made by Riedel with 
reference to several of the smaller islands.' Among the 
Rejangs of Sumatra, if a young man runs away with a virgin 
without the consent of her father, he does not act contrary to 
the laws of the country ; and, if he is willing to make the usual 
payments afterwards, the woman cannot be reclaimed by her 
father or other kinsfolk.* 

In Burma, ** the choice of marriageable girls is perfectly 
free," and marriages are occasionally contracted even in direct 
opposition to the parents.* Among the Shans, mutual con- 
sent is required to constitute a valid union f and, regarding 
the Chittagong Hill tribes, Captain Lewin says that the 
women's " power of selecting their own husband is to the full 
as free as that enjoyed by our own English maidens."^ The 
same is the case with many, perhaps most, of the uncivilized 
tribes of India. The young couple often settle the affair 
entirely between themselves, even though marriages are 
ostensibly arranged by the parents f or the parents, before 
they give their children in marriage, consult them, and, as a 
rule, follow their likings.* In case of parental objection, 
elopements frequently take place.^^ Among the Kukis, a girl 

^ Crawfurd, ioc, cit, vol. i, p. 90. 

* Hickson, loc, cit p. 272. ^ Riedel, loc, cit pp. 447, 302. 

* Marsden, loc, cit p. 235. Crawfurd, vol. iii. pp. 129, et seq, 

* Colquhoun, * Burma and the Burmans,' p. 1 2. Fytche,/^^. cit vol. ii. p. 69. 

* Anderson, * Mandalay to Momien,' p. 301. Cf, Colquhoun, 'Amongst 
the Shans,' p. 292. 

' Lewin, loc. cit p. 347. Cf. ibid,^ pp. 145, 146, 179, 285. 
® Kols, Abors (Rowney, loc. cit pp. 67^ 159), Santals (/^/V/., p. 76. Cf, 
Dalton, loc, cit p. 215; *Ymer,'voL v. p. xxiv. ; Man, loc, cit p. 102; 
Hunter, * Rural Bengal,' vol. i. pp. 205, et seq,), Todas (Shortt, in * Trans. 
£thn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. vii. p. 242. Cf. Marshall, loc. cit p. 212). 

^ Miris, Khasias, Koch, Mudsfs (Dalton, pp. 29, 57, 91, 125), Or^ons 

(Rowney, p. 81), Kolyas (Watt, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xvi. pp. 358, 

e^ seq,)y Butias (Cunningham, ' Notes on Moorcroft's Travels in Ladakh/ 

in * Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' voL xiii. pt. i. p. 204). 

^n- 10 Watt, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,* vol. xvi. p. 355 (Kaupuis). Dalton, pp. 


who runs away from a husband she does not like is not 
thought to act wrongly in doing so.^ Among the aboriginal 
tribes of China,^ the Ainos,' Kamchadales/ Jakuts,* Ossetes,* 
&c./ the daughter's inclinations are nearly always consulted. 
And, in Corea, mutual choice was the ancient custom of the 

Turning to Africa, we find that, among the Touaregs, a girl 
may select out of her suitors the one whom she herself 
prefers.® As to the West African negroes, Mr. Reade in- 
formed Mr. Darwin that " the women, at least among the 
more intelligent Pagan tribes, have no difficulty in getting 
the husbands whom they may desire, although it is considered 
unwomanly to ask a man to marry them."^® The accuracy of 
this statement is confirmed by several travellers,^^ and it seems 
to hold good for other parts of Africa. Among the Shulis, 
according to Dr. Felkin, the women have a voice in the selec- 
tion of their husbands.^ The Mddi girls, says Emin Pasha, 
enjoy great freedom, and are able to choose companions to 
their liking.^^ Among the Marutse, " free women who have 
not been given away or sold as slaves are allowed to choose 
what husbands they please."^* The young Kafirs endeavour 
generally at first to gain the consent of the girls, for it is, 
as Mr. Leslie remarks, " a mistake to imagine that a girl is 
sold by her father in the same manner, and with the same 

19?, 299, et seq, (Hos, Boad Kandhs). Spencer, * Descriptive Sociology,' 
Asiatic Races, p. 8 (Sowrahs of Jeypore). 

* Lewin, loc. cit. p. 254. 

* Gray, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 393. ' v. Siebold, loc. cit. p. 30. 

* Steller, loc. cit. p. 345. * Sauer, loc. cit, p. 127 
^ V. Haxthausen, loc. cit. p. 402. 

^ Usbegs (Vdmb^ry, * Das Tiirkenvolk,' p. 369), Kalmucks (Moore, loc, 
cit. p. 181), Aenezes (Burckhardt, loc. cit. p. 61). 
^ Ross, loc. at. p. 315* ^ Chavanne, ' Die Sahara,' p. iSi. 

" Darwin, * The Descent of Man,* vol. ii, p. 408. Cf. Reade, loc. cit. 
pp. 260, 390, 453, 554. 

" Beecham, loc. cit. p. 125 (Ashantees). Soyaux, * Aus West-Afrika,* 
pp. 152, 161 (Negroes of Loango). Merolla da Sorrento, he. at. p. 236 
(Negroes of Sogno). Bosman, loc. cit. p. 419 (Negroes of the Gold Coast). 

" Wilson and Felkin, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 61. 

" * Emin Pasha in Central Africa,' p. 103. 

** Holub, loc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 293, 298. Cf. ibid.y vol. ii. p. 206. 

^^^^■^*^ *. «^" 



authority, with which he would dispose of a cow."^ And, 
among the Hottentots* and Bushmans,* when a girl has grown 
up to womanhood without having previously been betrothed, 
her lover must gain her approbation, as well as that of the 

In works by andent writers we find statements of the same 
kind. Among the Cathaei, according to Strabo, the girls 
chose their husbands, and the young men their wives ; * and 
the same is said by Herodotus of the women of Lydia.* In 
Indian and old Scandinavian tales virgins are represented 
as having the power to dispose of themselves freely.^ Thus 
it was agreed that Skade should choose for herself a husband 
among the Asas, but she was to make her choice by the feet, 
the only part of their persons she was allowed to see.^ 

In view of such facts it is impossible to agree with M. 
Letourneau that, during a very long period, woman was 
married without her wishes being at all consulted.^ There 
can be no doubt that, under more primitive conditions, she was 
even more free in that respect than she is now among most of 
the lower races. At present a daughter is very commonly 
an object of trade, and the more exclusively she is regarded 
from this point of view, the less, of course, are her own likings 
taken into account. Among the Bedouins of Mount Sinai, 
who have marriage by purchase, no father thinks it necessary 
to consult his daughter before selling her, whereas, among the 

^ Uchtenstein, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 261. Leslie, ' Among the Zulus and 
Amatongas,' p. 194. According to other authorities, however, the Kafir 
girl herself is seldom or never consulted about the matter (Maclean, loc, 
cit. p. 69), though it generally happens that, after repeated elopements 
with the man of her own choice, the father gives up his original intention 
as to the disposal of her (Shooter, loc, cit, pp. 57, 60. Cf, v. Weber, 
ioc, cit. vol. i. pp. 331, // seg, ; vol. ii. p. 217). 

* Thunberg, 'Account of the Cape of Good Hope,' in Pinkerton, 
* Collection of Voyages,' vol. xvi. p. 141. 

3 Burchell, loc. cit, vnl. ii. p. 59. Fritsch, loc, cit. p. 444. Chapman, 
loc cit. vol. i. p. 258. * Strabo, loc, cit, book xv. ch. i. p. 699. 

* Herodotus, loc, cit. book i. ch. 93. 

6 v. Bohlen, loc, cit, vol. ii. pp. 148, 2l^7,et seq, Klemm, * Die Frauen, 
vol. i. p 281. Bachofen, *Das Mutterrecht,* p. 196. Grimm, loc, cit,, 
p. 421, note*. 

r * The Younger Edda,' p. 158. ® Letourneau, 'Sociology,' p. 378. 


Arabs of the eastern plain, the Aenezcs, &c., according to 
Burckhardt, " the father never receives the price of the girl, 
and therefore some regard is paid to her inclinations." ^ But 
it will be shown that marriage by purchase forms a com- 
paratively late stage in the history of the family relations of 
mankind, owing its origin to the fact that daughters are 
valuat)le as labourers, and therefore not given away for 
nothing. Speaking ot the Gippsland natives, Mr. Fison 
says, "The assertion that women 'eat and do not hunt* 
cannot apply to the lower savages. On the contrary, whether 
among the ruder agricultural tribes or those who are depend- 
ent on supplies gathered from * the forest and the flood,* the 
women are food-providers, who supply to the full as much as 
they consume, and render valuable service into the bargain. 
In times of peace, as a general rule, they are the hardest 
workers and the most useful members of the community."^ 
Now, the Australians, although a very rude race, have ad- 
vanced far beyond the original state of man. There is no 
reason to doubt that, among our earliest human ancestors, 
the possession of a woman was desired only for the gratifica- 
tion of the man's passions. It may be said generally that 
in a state of nature every grown-up individual earns his 
own living. Hence there is no slavery, as there is, properly 
speaking, no labour. A man in the earliest times had no 
reason, then, to retain his full-grown daughter ; she might 
go away, and marry at her pleasure. That she was not 
necessarily gained by the very first male, we may conclude 
from what we know about the lower animals. As Mr. Darwin 
remarks, the female generally, or at least often, exerts some 
choice. She can in most cases escape, if wooed by a male 
who does not please her, and when pursued, as commonly 
occurs, by several males, she seems often to have the oppor- 
tunity, whilst they are fighting with one another, of going 
away with, or at least of temporarily pairing with, some 
one male.^ 

^ Burckhardt, loc, cit, pp. 149, et seq. 

' Fison and Howitt, he. cit. p. 136. The same view is taken by Mr. 
Howitt {ibid.^ip. 358). 
^ Darwin, *The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 291. 


It might be supposed that at a later stage, when family 
ties grew stronger, and bride-stealing became a common way 
of concluding a marriage, the consent of the woman in the event 
of capture would be quite out of the question. Certainly it 
must generally have been so when she fell as a booty into the 
hands of an enemy. But women thus captured may in many 
cases have been able to escape from the husbands forced on 
them, and to return to their own, or some friendly neighbour- 
ing, tribe. Very frequently, however, bride-stealing seems to 
have taken place with the approval of the girl, there being no 
other way in which the match could be concluded if her 
parents were unwilling to agree to it It is a common mis- 
take, as Mr. Howitt remarks, to confound marriage by capture 
and marriage by elopement They are essentially different, 
the one being effected without, the other with, the woman's 
consent^ Thus, among the Australians, many, perhaps most, 
cases of so-called bride-stealing come under the head of 

Something remains to be said as to the position of sons 
among uncivilized peoples. When young, they are every- 
where as much dependent on the parents, or at least on the 
father, as are their sisters. A boy may be sold, bartered 
away, or even killed, if his father thinks proper. That the 
power of life and death, under certain circumstances, rests 
with the tribe is a matter of little importance in this con- 
nection. But as soon as the young man grows up, the father, 
as a rule, has no longer any authority over him, whereas a 
woman is always more or less in a state of dependence, 
marriage implying for her a change of owner only. Among 
the Australians, says Mr. Curr, "sons become independent 
when they have gone through the ceremonies by which they 
attain to the status of manhood."* The full-grown man is 
his own master ; he is strong enough not to be kept in check 
by his father, and, being able to shift for himself, he may 
marry quite independently of the old man's will. 

It often happens, indeed, as we have seen, that parents 

* Fison and Howitt, loc, cit, p. 354. 
« Ibid., pp. 343, 348—354. 
3 Curr, ioc. cit. vol. i. p. 61, 


betroth their children when they are young.^ But, if such 
an engagement is not always binding even for the woman, it 
is of course all the less so for the man. " The choice among 
the Kalmucks/' Liadov says, " belongs entirely to the parents. 
Still, there is no constraint upon this point, and, if the son 
declares that the selection of his parents displeases him, there 
is no further question about the matter.'** 

Moreover, marriage contracts are concluded among certain 
peoples by the parents of the parties, even when these are 
full-grown.* Among the Iroquois, according to Mr. Morgan, 
the mother, when she considered her son of a suitable age for 
marriage, looked about for a maiden whom she thought likely 
to accord with him in disposition and temperament, and re- 
monstrance or objection on the part of the children was never 
attempted.* Among the Basutos, the choice of "the great 
wife" is generally made by the father.* And, in many of the 
uncivilized tribes of India, parents are in the habit of betroth- 
ing their sons.*^ In certain cases, the parents merely go 
through a form of selection, the matter having already been 
really settled by the parties concerned ;^ and usually a man 
who has been induced to marry a woman he does not like, 
may divorce her and choose another according to his taste. 
Yet, speaking of the Kisans, Colonel Dalton says that " there 
is no instance on record of a youth or maiden objecting to 
the arrangement made for them."® The paternal authority 

^ That the male children also are so disposed of appears, for instance, 
from V. Martius, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 393 (Mundrucis), 690 (Arawaks) ; 
Lansdell, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 225 (Gilyaks). 

* 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. i. p. 403. Cf, Guillemard, loc, cit p. 389 
(Nufoor Papuaiis). 

' Ahts (Sproat, loc, cit, p. 97) and other Indians (Waitz, loc, cit, vol. iiL 
p. T03), Maravi {ibid.^ vol. ii. pp. 419, et seq.), 

* Morgan, * League of the Iroquois,' pp. 321, 323. 
^ Casalis, loc, cit, p. 186. 

' Kisins, Mundas, Santals, M^riis (Dalton, loc. cit, pp. 132, 194, 215, 
279), Mishmis (Rowlatt, 'Expedition into the Mishmee Hills,' in 'Jour. 
As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. xiv. pt ii. p. 4B8}, Bhils (Malcolm, in ' Trans. 
Roy. As. Soc.,* vol, i. p. 83), Yoon-tha-lin Karens (Stoll, 'Notes on 
the Yoon-tha-lin Karens,' in 'The Madras Journal of Literature and 
Science,' N. S. vol, vi. pp. 61, et seq,), 

7 Dalton, p. 252 (Ordons). * Ibid.y p. 132 



among these tribes of India implies, indeed, a family system 
of higher type tha(n we are accustomed to find among wild 
races ; it approaches \h& fatria potestas of the ancient Aryan 
nations. Thus, among the Kandhs, in each family the abso- 
lute authority rests with the house-father ; the sons have no 
property during the father's lifetime, and all the male children, 
with their wives and descendants, continue to share the 
father's meal, prepared by the common mother.^ The father 
chooses a full-grown woman as a wife for his young son. 
In the superior age of the bride," says Colonel Macpherson, 
is seen a proof of the supremacy of the paternal authority 
amongst this singular people. The parents obtain the wives 
of their sons during their boyhood, as very valuable domestic 
servants, and their selections are avowedly made with a view 
to utility in this character."* 

Among savages the father's power depends exclusively, or 
chiefly, upon his superior strength. At a later stage, in con- 
nection with a more highly developed system of ancestor- 
worship, it becomes more ideal, and, at the same time, more 
extensive and more absolute. Obedience to the father is 
regarded as a sacred duty, the transgression of which will be 
punished as a crime against the gods. Indeed, so prevalent 
has this strengthened authority of the father been among 
peoples who have reached a relatively high degree of civili- 
zation, that it must be regarded as marking a stage in all 
human history. 

The family system of the savage Indians diiflTers widely, in 
this respect, from that which was established among the 
ancient inhabitants of Mexico aud Peru. Concerning the 
Mexicans, Clavigero says that "their children were bred to 
stand so much in awe of their parents, that, even when grown 
up and married, they hardly durst speak before them."^ The 
following was an exhortation of a Mexican to his son : — 
•* Honour all persons, particularly thy parents, to whom thou 
owest obedience, respect, and service. Guard against imitat- 
ing the example of those wicked sons, who, like brutes that 

1 Hunter, * Rural Bengal,' vol, iii. p. 72. * Ibid., vol. iii. p. 83. 

3 Clavigero, *The History of Mexico,' vol. i. p. 331. 


are deprived of reason, neither reverence their parents, listen 
to their instruction, nor submit to their correction ; because 
whoever follows their steps will have an unhappy end, will die 
in a desperate or sudden manner, or will be killed and de- 
voured by wild beasts."^ A youth was seldom allowed to 
choose a wife for himself ; he was expected to abide by the 
selection of his parents. Hence it rarely happened that 
a marriage took place without the sanction of parents or 
other kinsfolk, and he who presumed to marry without such 
sanction had to undergo penance, being looked upon as un- 
grateful, ill-bred, and apostate.* The belief was, according 
to Torquemada, that an act of that kind would be punished 
by some misfortune,* In a province of the Mexican empire, 
it was even required that a bridegroom should be carried, 
that he might be supposed to marry against his inclinations.* 
Touching the Guatemalans, Mr. Bancroft says, " It seems in- 
credible that the young men should have quietly submitted 
to having their wives picked out for them without being 
allowed any voice or choice in the matter. Yet we are told 
that so great was their obedience and submission to their 
parents, that there never was any scandal in these things.**^ 
In the greater part of Nicaragua, matches were arranged by 
the parents ; though there were certain independent towns in 
which the girls chose their husbands from amongthe young 
men, while the latter sat at a feast* Again, in fcru, Inca 
Pachacutec confirmed the law that sons should chpy ^^^ 
serve their fathers until they reached the age of twer^'fi^*^» 
and that none should marry without the consent •f ^^^ 
parents, and of the parents of the girl, a marriage vO^hout 
this consent being invalid and the children illegitimate. 

Similar ideas formerly prevailed, and to some extd* *^ 
still found, among the civilized nations of the Old ^orld. 
The Chinese have a maxim that, as the Emperor shoulc^*^ 
a father's love for his people, so a father should h^ * 

* Clavigero, ioc. a'/, vol. i. p. 332. 
2 Bancroft, /^^. at. vol ii. p. 251. 

' Spencer, * Descriptive Sociology,' Ancient Mexicans, &c., p. 3. « 

* Heriot, /oc. cit, pp. 334, et seq, * Bancroft, vol. ii. p. 555 
^ Ibid. J vol. ii. p. 667. Squier, in 'Trans. American Ethn. Soc. * vc 

pi. i. p. 1 27. ' Garcilasso de la Vega, loc. cit, vol. ii. p ^* 


sovereign's power over his family.^ From earliest youth the 
Chinese lad is imbued with such respect for his parents that 
it becomes at last a religious sentiment, and forms, as he gets 
older, the basis of his only creed — the worship of ancestors.* 
Disobedience to parents is looked upon as a sin to be punished 
with death, whether the offender be an infant or a full-grown 
son or daughter. And in everything referring to the marriage 
of the children parents are omnipotent. " From all antiquity 
in China," Navarette says, " no son ever did, or hereafter will, 
marry without the consent of his parents/'* Indeed, according 
to Mr. Medhurst, it is a universally acknowledged principle in 
China that no person, of whatever age, can act for himself in 
matrimonial matters during the lifetime or in the neighbour- 
hood of his parents or near senior kinsfolk. The power of 
these guardians is so great that they may contract a marriage 
for a junior who is absent from home, and he is bound to abide 
by such engagement even though already affianced elsewhere 
without their privity or consent* The consequence of this 
system is that, in many cases, the betrothed couple scarcely 
know each other before marriage, the wedding being the first 
occasion on which the man catches a glimpse of his wife's 
face.* In some parts of the Empire children are affianced in 

In Japan, according to Professor Rein, a house-father en- 
joyed the same extensive rights as the 'RovtidLn paterfamilias — 
an unlimited power over the person and property of his child- 
ren J Filial piety is considered the highest duty of man, and 
not even death or the marriage relation weakens, to any great 
extent, the hold of a father on a child. " With affection on 
the one hand, and cunning on the other," says Mr. Griffis, " an 
unscrupulous father may do what he will. . . . The Japanese 
maiden, as pure as the purest Christian virgin, will, at the 
command of her father, enter the brothel to-morrow, and 

* Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,' vol, i. p. 739. 

- Wells Williams, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 646. 

^ Navarette, loc, cit, p. 75. Cf.^ The Li Ki,' book xxvii. v. 33. 

^ Medhurst, in 'Trans. Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,' vol. iv. p. 1 1. 

3*^ * Gray, loc, cit, voL i. p. 205. ® Ibid,^ vol. i. p. 189. 

^^^ ^ Rein, * Japan,' p. 422. 

rs: — - tai- »t,_- 


prostitute herself for life. Not a murmur escapes her 
lips as she thus filially obeys."* Marriages are almost 
invariably arranged by the parents or nearest kinsfolk of 
the parties, or by the parties themselves with the aid of 
an agent or middleman known as the "nakddo," it being 
considered highly improper for them to arrange it on 
their own account Among the lower classes, such direct 
unions are not unfrequent ; but they are held in contempt, and 
are known as " yago," i.e., " meeting on a moor," — a term of 
disrespect showing the low opinion entertained of them. The 
middleman's duty consists in acquainting each of the parties 
with the nature, habits, good and bad qualities, and bodily 
infirmities of the other, and in doing his utmost to bring the 
affair to a successful conclusion. It seldom happens that the 
parties immediately interested communicate directly with the 
middleman ; if they have parents or guardians, it is done by 
these, and, if not, by the nearest relation. The middleman has 
to arrange for a meeting between the parties, which meeting 
is known as the *' mi ai," literally " see meeting ; " and, if either 
party is dissatisfied with the other after this introduction, the 
matter proceeds no further. But formerly, says Mr. Kiich- 
ler, " this ante-nuptial meeting was dispensed with in the case 
of people of very exalted rank, who consequently never saw 
each other until the bride removed her veil on the marriage 

Among the ancient Arabs* and Hebrews, fathers exercised 
very great rights over their families. According to the old 
law of Jahveism, a father might sell his child to relieve his 
own distress, or offer it to a creditor as a pledge.* Death was 
the penalty for a child who struck a parent, or even cursed 
one f though the father himself could not inflict this penalty 
on his children, but had to appeal to the whole community.* 
How important were the duties of the child to the parents, is 

* Griffis, * The Mikado's Empire,* pp. 124, 147, 555. 

* Kuchler, in 'Trans. As. Soc. Japan,' vol. xiii. pp. 117-119. 

2 Amfr* Alf, *The Personal Law of the Mahommedans,' p. 179. 

* Ewald, ioc, cit, p. 190. 

* * Exodus,' ch. xxi. w. 15, 17. * Leviticus/ ch. xx. v. 9. 

* * Deuteronomy,' ch. xxi. vv. 18-21. 


. • 

shown in the primitive typical relation of Isaac to Abraham, 
and may, as Ewald remarks, be at once learned from the 
placing of the law on the subject among the Ten Command- 
ments, and from its position there in immediate proximity 
to the commands relating to the duties of man towards God.^ 
According to Michaelis, there is nowhere the slightest trace of 
its having been the will of Moses that paternal authority and 
the subjection of sons should cease after a certain age.* A 
Hebrew father not only disposed of his daughter's hand, but 
chose wives for his sons, — the selection, however, being some- 
times made by the mother.* 

Herodotus tells us that, in Egypt, if a son was unwilling 
to maintain his parents, he was at liberty to refuse, whereas a 
daughter was compelled to assist them, and, on refusal, was 
amenable to law.* But, according to Sir Gardner Wilkinson, 
the truth of this statement may be questioned. Judging 
from the marked severity of filial duties among the Egyptians, 
some of which are distinctly alluded to in the inscriptions at 
Thebes, we may conclude that, in Egypt, much more was 
expected from a son than in any civilized nation of the 
p>resent day. Among the modern Egyptians it is considered 
highly indecorous for a son to sit down in the presence of his 
father without permission.^ 

Among the Romans, the house-father had, in the earlier 
time, the jus vitae nedsque — the power of life and death — 
over his children. He could imprison, sell, or kill his children 
under an express law of the Twelve Tables ; ® and Plutarch 
says Brutus condemned his sons to death, without judicial 
forms, not as consul, but as father.^ " All in the household,'* 
Mommsen remarks, "were destitute of legal rights — the wife 
and the child no less than the bullock or the slave."® 
Even the full-grown son and his children were subject to 

» Ewald, loc, cit, p. 188. Cf, Gans, * Erbrecht,' vol. i. p. 134. 
' Michaelis, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 444. 

» * Genesis,' ch. xxiv. v. 4 ; ch. xxviii. vv. i, et seq, * Exodus,' ch. xxxiv. 
V. 16. * Deuteronomy,' ch. vii. v. 3. 'Judges,' ch. xiv. w. 1-3. 

* Herodotus, loc, cit, book ii. ch. 35. * Wilkinson, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 320. 

• * Duodecim Tabularum Fragmenta,' table iv. § 2. 

^ Plutarch, * non-XiicoXas,' ch. vii. * Mommsen, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 64. 


the house-father's will,^ and in^ marriage without conventio 
in manum a daughter remained in the power of her father 
or tutor after marriage. The consent of tht paterfamilias was 
indispensable to the marriage of children, sons and daughters 
alike f and so strict was this rule originally, that down to 
the reign of Marcus Aurelius the children of a mente captus 
could not contract a legal marriage while in the power of 
their father, the latter being incapable of giving his consent* 
The religious character of this unlimited paternal authority 
has been pointed out by M. Fustel de Coulanges. "In 
primitive antiquity," he says, " the father is not only the 
strong man, the protector who has power to command 
obedience ; he is the priest, he is heir to the hearth, the con- 
tinuator of the ancestors, the parent stock of the descendants, 
the depositary of the mysterious rites of worship, and of 
the sacred formulas of prayer. The whole religion resides 
in him."* 

It has been suggested by Sir Henry Maine and others that 
the patria potestas of the Romans was a survival of the 
paternal authority which existed among the primitive 
Aryans.* But no clear evidence of the general prevalence of 
such unlimited authority among other Indo-European peoples 
has been adduced. Justinian justly observed, "The power 
which we have over our children is peculiar to Roman 
citizens ; for there are no other men possessing such a power 
over their children as we have." * That the father, among the 
Greeks, Germans, and Celts, had the power to expose his 
children w^hen they were very young and to sell his marriage- 
able daughters, does not imply the possession of a sovereignty 
like that wTiich the Roman house-father exercised over his 
descendants at all ages. As, however, the family institu- 

* ' Duodecim Tabularum Fragmenta/ table iv. § 2. Justinian, * Insti- 
tutiones/ book i. title ix. § 3. 

* Justinian, book i. title x. Rossbach, loc, cit. p. 393. Mackenxie, 
Studies in Roman Law,' p. 104. 

' Mackenzie, p. 104, note 4. * Fustel de Coulanges, loc, cit, p. 116. 

* Maine, 'Ancient Law,' p. 138. Fustel de Coulanges, pp. 115, ^/ srq. 
Heam, loc, cit. p. 92. 

* Justinian, book i. title ix. § 2. 


tion seems to have had a religious basis among the early 
Aryans, the father probably had a higher authority than he 
has among any existing uncivilized people. 

According to Sir Henry Maine, the fulness of the ancient 
Yiixidw patria potestas may be safely inferred from the venera- 
tion which even a living father must have inspired under a 
system of ancestor-worship.^ At a later date, the law-book 
of Manu declares that three persons — a wife, a son, and a 
slave — have in general no wealth exclusively their own ; 
the wealth which they may earn being regularly acquired for 
the man to whom they belong.* A more recent, but still 
ancient authority, Narada, says that a son is " of age and in- 
dependent, in case his parents be dead ; during their life- 
time he is dependent, even though he be grown old."* And, 
speaking of the South of India, Mr. Nelson observes, " It is 
an undoubted fact that, amongst the so-called Hindus of the 
Madras Province, the father is looked upon by all at the 
present day as the Rajah or absolute Sovereign of the family 
that depends upon him. He is entitled to reverence during 
his life, as he is to worship after his death. His word is law, 
to be obeyed without question or demur. He is emphatic- 
ally the * Master ' of his family, of his wife, of his sons, of his 
slaves, and of his wealth."* But, on the other hand, it appears 
from the * Rig- Veda ' that, among the ancient Hindus, the 
father was the head of the family only as long as he was able 
to be its protector and maintainer,^ decrepit parents being 
even allowed to die of starvation, — a custom which was pre- 
valent among the ancient Teutons and Eranians.* Moreover, 
according to the * Laws of Manu,' a daughter might choose her 
husband in accordance with her own wish. This permission, 
however, seems to have been an innovation, as Manu himself 
disapproves of such a " voluntary union of a maiden and her 
lover, . . . which springs from desire and has sexual intercourse 

^ Maine, * Early Law and Custom,* pp. 122, et seq, 

2 * The Laws of Manu,' ch. viii. v. 416. 

3 Maine, * Early Law and Custom,' p. 123. 

•* Nelson, * View of the Hindu Law,' pp. 56, et seq, 
^ ' Rig- Veda Sanhitd,' mandala i. silkta Ixx. v. 5. 
® Zimmer, * Altindisches Leben,' pp. 327, et seq. 


for its purpose."^ The four marriages — ^Brahma, Daiva, 
Arsha, and PrAgipatya — in which the father gives away his 
daughter, are blessed marriages, and from them spring sons 
radiant with knowledge of the Veda, honoured by good men, 
and destined to live a hundred years. But the remaining 
four marriages — those effected by purchase, voluntary union, 
forcible abduction, or stealth — are blamable marriages, from 
which spring sons who are cruel and untruthful, who hate the 
Veda and the sacred law.* Among the ancient Persians also, 
marriage contracted with the woman's own consent, but 
against the will of her parents, was looked upon as the 
worst kind of marriage.* In India,* as well as in Persia,* 
children were often affianced in earliest youth by their 

According to M. Fustel de Coulanges, the unlimited sub- 
jection of the son to the father existed amongst the ancient 
Greeks, but disappeared at an early period at Athens, and 
somewhat later at Sparta.^ It seems very doubtful, however, 
whether this subjection ever was so unlimited as among the 
Romans. The relations of Ulysses and Laertes in the 
Odyssey indicate that, at least under certain circumstances, 
a father in the decrepitude of age could be deposed from the 
headship of the family. In the mature Greek jurisprudence, 
as Sir Henry Maine points out, the direct authority of the 
parent is restricted, as in European codes, to the nonage or 
minority of the children.^ At Athens, a son was in his 
father's power till twenty years of age ; then he could marry 
without paternal sanction.® Women, on the other hand, were 
in a state of nonage throughout life. A woman could not be 
a party to any act of importance without the consent of her 
guardians, whose rights, after her marriage, passed to the 
husband. As a rule, it was the lot of a Greek woman to be 

^ ' The Laws of Manu,' ch. iii. v. 32. Cf, Rossbach, loc, ciL p. 208. 

* ' The Laws of Manu,' ch. iii. w. 39-41 . ^ Spiegel, loc. cit vol. iii. p. 678. 

* V. Bohlen, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 146. * Spiegel^ vol. iii. pp. 677, et seq. 
^ Fustel de Coulanges, loc. cit. p. 115. 

7 Maine, 'Ancient Law,' pp. 136, et seq. 

* Cauvet, * De ^organisation de la famille k Ath^nes,* in * Revue de 
legislation,* vol. xxiv. 1845, p. 138. 


given in marriage to a man whom she did not know.^ " Les 
femmes, k Athtees," says M. Cauvet, "ne devaient jamais 
choisir elles-m^mes leur ^poux, toujours il leur ^tait design^ 
par le tuteur que la loi leur donnait" * At Sparta, as well as 
at Athens, the betrothal of the bride by her father or guardian 
was requisite as an introduction to marriage.* 

Among the Teutons, the father certainly had the power to 
expose or sell his children under age, but an adult son could 
put his infirm and aged parents to death.* ** Quelle que soit la 
ressemblance des- deux institutions," says M. Laboulaye, " on 
ne peut pas confondre la puissance paternelle {patriapotestas) 
des Romains et la puissance paternelle des barbares, le mun- 
diumr^ Far from being, as in Rome, a power throughout life, 
the mundium over a son ceased as soon as he was able to shift 
for himself.® M. Pardessus asserts that, at any rate in the 
fifth and sixth centuries, such paternal authority as a Roman 
father exerted did not exist among the Franks ; ^ and an old 
commentator says that, "by the law of the Langobardi, 
children are not under the * power ' of the father." Neverthe- 
less, the mundtum among this people was more severe than 
among any other of the Teutonic nations.® The extent of the 
father's rights in earlier times, when the Teutons had no 
written laws, we do not definitely know ; but, according to 
Tacitus, a house-father had not .unlimited power even over 
his slaves ;* so it is impossible to believe in the prevalence of 
2i patria potestas of the Roman type among them. In choos- 
ing a wife, however, the men had apparently in early days to 
take counsel with their kinsfolk.^^ " The parents and relations 

^ Becker, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 446. Hermann-Bliimner, ' Lehrbuch der 
griechischen Privatalterthiimer,' p. 261. 

• Cauvet, in ' Revue de legislation,' vol. xxiv. p. 147, 

• Miiller, ' The Doric Race,' vol. ii. p. 298. 

• Grimm, * Deutsche Rechts Alterthiimer/ pp. 461, 487, et seq, Wein- 
hold, ' Altnordisches Leben,' p. 473. 

^ Laboulaye, 'Recherches sur la condition civile et politique des femmes,' 
p. 8a 

• Koenigswarter, * Histoire de Torganisation de la famille en France,' 
p. 14a 7 Pardessus, * Loi Salique,' p. 456. 

• Koenigswarter, p. 139. ^ Tacitus, loc, cit ch. xxv. 
^ Olivecrona, * Om makars giftoratt i bo,* p. 143. 


of the parties," says Tacitus, " are consulted in cases of 
marriage, and determine the nature of the bridal gifts."^ 
Women always remained in a state of dependence. Girls, 
wives, or widows, they were under the guardianship of the 
father, husband, or nearest male relative. The father could 
freely dispose of his daughter's hand, and her own inclina- 
tions seem to have been very little taken into consideration.* 

According to ancient Russian laws, fathers had great 
power over the children ;* but Macieiowski thinks it improb- 
able that a son could be sold as a slave.^ Baron von 
Haxthausen, who wrote before the Emancipation in 1861, 
says, " The patriarchal government, feelings, and organization 
are in full activity in the life, manners, and customs of the 
Great Russians. The same unlimited authority which the 
father exercises over all his children is possessed by the mother 
over her daughters. . . . The Russian addresses the same 
word to his real father, to the Starosta (a communal authority)i 
to his proprietor, to the Emperor, and finally to God, vis.y Father 
(' Batushka ')."** According to Sir Mackenzie Wallace, however, 
the head of the household was rather the administrator of a 
labour association than a house-father in the proper sense of the 
term. The house and nearly everything it contained were the 
joint-property of the family, and not even the head of it could 
sell or buy anything without the express or tacit consent of all 
the other grown-up men.® In Poland, according to Nestor, a 
father used to select a bride for his son;^ and in Russia, 
previous to the Emancipation, it was a common custom for 
fathers to marry their young sons to full-grown women. Ac- 
cording to Professor Bogisid^ the power of the father is not so 

* Tacitus, loc. cit, ch. xviii. 

2 Weinhold, * Die deutschen Frauen in dem Mittelalter,' vol. i. p. 303. 
Wilda, * Das Strafrecht der Germanen,' p. 802. Olivecrona, loc. at, 
p. 48. 

^ Accurse, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, says, * Aliae vero 
gentes quaedam, ut servos tenent filios, ut Sclavi, aliae ut prorsus abso- 
lutos, ut Francigenai ' (Koenigswarter, loc, ciL p. 224, note 2). 

* Macieiowski, * Slaviscbe Rechtsgeschichte,' vol. iv. p. 404. 

^ V. Haxthausen, * The Russian Empire,' vol. ii. pp. 229, et seq, 
^ Mackenzie Wallace, loc. at. vol. i. pp. 134-136. 
" Macieiowski, vol. ii. p. 189. 


great among the South Slavonians as among the Russians.^ 
But Dr. Krauss asserts that a son is not permitted to make a 
proposal of marriage to a girl against the will of his parents ; 
and, among the Croatians and Servians, it is quite exceptional 
for the young man himself to look about fqr his future wife * 
A daughter, of course, enjoys still less freedom of disposing 
of her own hand.* 

The paternal authority of the archaic type here considered 
formed only a transitional stage in the history of human in- 
stitutions. It declined gradually, according as the religious 
basis on which it rested became more unstable. The intro- 
duction of a new religion with higher conceptions of human 
rights particularly contributed to its fall. Paying special 
attention to its influence on the laws of marriage, I shall 
endeavour to trace the main features of this highly im- 
portant process, which released children from paternal 

Among the Hebrews, a modification of the patriarchal 
principle took place as early as the seventh century before the 
Christian era ;* and, according to the Talmudic law, a marriage, 
to be valid, must be contracted with the voluntary consent of 
both the parties concerned.* In Arabia, Mohammed limited 
the paternal power.® According to all the Mohammedan 
5?chools, a son is at liberty to contract a marriage without his 
father's consent, after he has completed his fifteenth year. The 
Hanails and Shiahs grant the same privilege to a daughter, 
whereas, according to other schools, a woman is emancipated 
from paternal control only through marriage.^ A Mohammedan 
father certainly has the right to impose the status of marriage 
on his children during their minority, sons and daughters 
alike, but the law takes particular care that this right shall 
never be exercised to the prejudice of the infant. Any act of 
the father which is likely to injure the interests of the minor 
is considered illegal, and entitles the judge to interfere in 

^ Maine, ' Early Law and Custom,' p. 244, note. 

* Krauss, loc, cit, pp. 314,313. ^ lbid,y p. 320. 

* Ewald, loc, cit» p. 190. ^ Lichtschein, loc, cit. p. 41. 
^ Amfr 'Alf, loc. cit. p. 179. ^ Ibid,^ pp. 180-183. 


order to prevent the completion of such act, or, if complete, 
to annul it.^ 

In the mature Greek jurisprudence the paternal power was 
more restricted than during the Homeric age f and the 
'R.ovciB.n patria potestas gradually became a shadow of what 
it had been. Under the Republic the abuses of paternal 
authority were checked by the censors, and in later times the 
Emperors reduced the father's power within comparatively 
narrow limits. Alexander Severus ordained that severe 
punishments should be inflicted on members of a family only 
by the magistrate. Diocletian and Maximilian took away 
the power of selling freeborn children as slaves ; and Con- 
stantine declared the father who killed his child guilty of 
murder.* The father's privilege of dictating marriage for his 
sons declined into a conditional veto;^ and it seems as if 
daughters also, at length, gained a certain amount of freedom 
in the choice of a husband. At any rate, a daughter could 
protest, if the father wished to give her in marriage to a man 
with a bad reputation.* 

" La philosophie stolcienne et le christian isme," says M. 
Koenigswarter, "qui hitirent he d^veloppement des prin- 
cipes d'^galit^, furent sourtout favorables aux fils de famille et 
aux femmes."^ The influence of Christianity shows itself in 
Teutonic legislation as well as in Roman. An edict of 
Clothaire I. in 560 prohibited the forcing of women to marry 
against their will ;^ although a Council held at Paris three 
years earlier expressly required the consent of the parents 
also." According to the laws of Cnut, no woman or girl could 
be forced to marry a man whom she disliked.* The Swedish 
' Westgota-lag ' permitted a woman to dissolve a marriage 

^ Amfr *AK, ioc. ciL pp. 179,180, 184. * Maine, * Ancient Law,* p. 137. 
3 Mackenzie, ' Roman Law,' p. 141. Koenigswarter, he. cit, p. 86. 
Rossbach, Ioc. cit pp. 47, et seq, 

* Maine, * Ancient Law,' p. 138. Rossbach, p. 396. 

* Rossbach, Ioc. cit pp. 400, 396, et seq. 

* Koenigswarter, p. 93. ' Pardessus, Ioc. cit. p. 666. 

^ Guizot, ' The History of Civilization,' vol. ii. p. 467. A Council at 
Orleans, in 541, also forbids ^ any one to marry a girl without the consent 
of her parents ' (ibid.^ vol. ii. p. 464). 

® Cnut, ' D6mas,' Leges Saeculares, ch. Ixxiv. 


which had been contracted without her consent ;^ and similar 
privileges were granted to her in the * Uplands-lag ' ^ and 
certain other Teutonic law-books.* Later on, the * Schwa- 
benspiegel ' — a faithful echo of canonical ideas — says, 
" When a young man has completed his fourteenth year, he 
can take a wife without the consent of his father. ... At 
twelve years, a maiden is marriageable; and the marriage 
subsists, even if contracted in spite of her father, or other 
relatives/'* A similar privilege, during the Middle Ages, was 
granted to German women in general.* But the feelings of 
the people seem to have been opposed to it, and required 
the consent of the parents. Thus Ulrich von Lichtenstein 
says in his * Frauenbuch,' "A girl who has no parents 
should follow the advice of her kinsfolk ; if she gives 
herself to a man of her own accord, she may live with 

Paternal authority has declined more rapidly in some 
countries than in others. The process has been especially 
slow in France. In the literature of the eleventh century, 
says M. Bernard, the paternal character " is everywhere 
honoured, and filial piety everywhere praised and rewarded. 
In the romances of chivalry fathers are never ridiculous ; nor 
sons insolent and mocking. . . . Above the majesty of the 
feudal baron, that of the paternal power was held still more 
sacred and inviolable. However powerful the son might be, 
he would not have dared to outrage his father, whose 
authority was in his eyes always confounded with the 
sovereignty of command."^ This respect exercised a 
tyrannical dominion for centuries. Du Vair remarks, "Nous 

> * Westg6ta-Lagen,' Codex Recentior, Kirkyu Balker, ch. lii. Addita- 
menta, § 8. * * Uplands-Lagen,' Aerfdae Balkaer, ch. i. § 4. 

5 NordstrSm, 'Svenska samhalls-forfattningens historia,' vol. ii. pp. 15, 
etseq. Wilda, loc. cit. p. 803. Weinhold, * Deutsche Frauen,* vol. i. p. 304. 
According to Saxo Grammaticus (' Historia Danica,' book v. vol. i. p. 186) 
a woman was allowed to dispose of her own hand before the days of King 

* * Der Schwabenspiegel,' Landrecht, § 55. 

* Kraut, * Die Vormundschaft,' vol. i. p. 326. 

* Weinhold, vol i. p. 305. 

7 Quoted in Spencer's * Descriptive Sociology,' France, p. 38. 


devons tenir nos peres comme des dieux en terre."^ Bodin 
wrote, in the later part of the sixteenth century, that, though 
the monarch commands his subjects, the master his disciples, 
the captain his soldiers, there is none to whom nature has 
given any command except the father, "who is the true 
image of the great sovereign God, universal father of all 
things."* In the Duke of Sully's * Memoirs ' we read that, in 
his days in France, children were not permitted to sit in the 
presence of their parents without being commanded to do 
so.* According to the edicts of Henry III. (1566), Louis 
XIII. (1639), and Louis XIV. (1697), sons could not marr>' 
before the age of thirty, nor daughters before that of twenty- 
five, without the consent of the father and mother, on pain of 
being disinherited.* Speaking of the women among the 
nobility and upper classes in France during the eighteenth 
century, Messrs. de Goncourt remark, " G^n^ralement le 
mariage de la jeune fiUe se faisait presque imm^diatement au 
sortir du couvent, avec un mari accept^ et agr^^ par la 
famille. Car le mariage ^tait avant tout une affaire do 
famille, un arrangement au gr6 des parents, qui decidaient 
des considerations de position et d'argent, des convenances de 
rang et de fortune. Le choix dtait fait d'avance pour la jeune 
personne, qui n'^tait pas consult^."* 

Even now French law accords considerable power to 
parents. A child cannot quit the paternal residence without 
the permission of the father before the age of twenty-one 
except for enrolment in the army.* For grave misconduct 
by his children the father has strong means of correction.^ 
A son under twenty-five and a daughter under twenty-one 
cannot marry without the consent of their parents;* and, 
even when a man has attained his twenty-fifth year, and 
the woman her twenty-first, both are still bound to ask 

' Quoted by de Ribbe, * Les families et la soci^i^ en France avant la 
Revolution,' p. 51. * Bodin, * De Republica,' book i. ch. iv. p. 31. 

^ Sully, * Memoirs,' vol. v. p. 180. 
* Koenigswarter, ioc, ciL p. 231. 

^ de Goncourt, ' La Femme au dix-huiti^me si&cle/ p. 2a 
8 * Code Civil,' art. 374. 
" 1bid,y art. 375-383. * lbid.y art. 148. 


for it, by a formal notification.^ Parental restraints upon 
marriage exist to a very great extent in Germany and 
Holland also, the marriage of minors being absolutely 
void, if effected without the consent of the father, or of 
the mother if she be the survivor. According to Ameri- 
can, Scotch, and Irish law, on the other hand, the consent 
of parents and guardians to the marriage of minors is not 
requisite to the validity of the union. The same was the 
case in England prior to the statute of 26 Geo. II. c. 33, 
which declared all marriages by license, when either of the 
parties was under the age of twenty-one years, if celebrated 
without publication of banns, or without the consent of the 
father or unmarried mother, or guardian, to be absolutely 
null and void.* 

There is thus a certain resemblance between the family 
institution of savage tribes and that of the most advanced 
races. Among both, the grown-up son, and frequently the 
grown-up daughter, enjoys a liberty unknown among peoples 
at an intermediate stage of civilization. There are, however, 
these vital differences : — that children in civilized countries 
are in no respect the property of their parents ; that they are 
born with certain rights guaranteed to them by society ; that 
the birth of children gives parents no rights over them other 
than those which conduce to the children's happiness. These 
ideas, essential as they are to true civilization, are not many 
centuries old. It is a purely modern conception the French 
Encyclopedist expresses when he says, " Le pouvoir paternel 
est plutdt un devoir qu'un pouvoir."* 

* 'Code Civil,' art. 151. 

* Kent, * Commentaries on American Law,' lecture xxvi. § 5. 
3 Diderot and d'Alembert, ' Encyclopedic,' vol. xiii. p. 255. 



The expression, ** Sexual Selection," was first used by Mr. 
Darwin. Besides natural selection, which depends on the 
success of both sexes, at all ages, in relation to the general 
conditions of life, he introduced another principle, sexual 
selection, which depends on the success of certain individuals 
over others of the same sex, in relation to the propagation of 
the species. According to the former principle, those indi- 
viduals who are most successful in the struggle for existence 
survive the others, and characters useful to the species are 
thus inherited ; according to the latter, those individuals who 
have the greatest success in the struggle for mates have the 
most numerous offspring, and the characters which gave them 
the preference pass on to the new generation, and are after- 
wards intensified by the operation of like causes. The sexual 
struggle is of two kinds. In both it is carried on by indi- 
viduals of the same sex ; but in one these individuals, gener- 
ally the males, try to drive away or kill their rivals ; in the 
other, they seek to excite or charm those of the opposite sex, 
generally the females, who select the most attractive males 
for their partners. Therefore, the characters acquired through 
sexual selection, and transmitted chiefly to offspring of the 
same sex, generally the males, are, on the one hand, weapons 
for battle, vigour, and courage ; on the other hand, certain 
colours, forms, ornaments, sounds, or odours, which are felt 
to be pleasant. The secondary sexual characters of the latter 
sort are thus due to the taste of the females. They have 


been acquired because they are beautiful or otherwise agree- 
able, whereas the characters resulting from natural selection 
have been acquired because they are useful. How are we to 
explain the origin of this wonderful aesthetic faculty ? " The 
senses of man and of the lower animals," says Mr. Darwin, 
" seem to be so constituted that brilliant colours and certain 
forms, as well as harmonious and rhythmical sounds, give 
pleasure and are called beautiful ; but why this should be so 
we know not.'*^ According to Mr. Darwin, natural and 
sexual selection are two different sources from which animal 
characters have arisen. There is some truth in the statement 
of one of his critics, " Mr. Darwin, in fact, has so far aban- 
doned his former belief in the efficacy of 'natural selection* 
as an agent in producing the differences which separate 
different species of animals, as to admit that some supple- 
mentary cause must, in some cases at any rate, be looked 
for ; and this he thinks is to be found in the action, through 
long periods, of * sexual selection.' " * 

Far from co-operating with the process of natural selection, 
sexual selection, as described by Mr. Darwin, produces effects 
disadvantageous to the species. " It is evident," he says, 
**that the brilliant colours, top-knots, fine plumes, &c., of 
many male birds cannot have been acquired as a protection ; 
indeed, they sometimes lead to danger." * When we consider 
what an important part is played by colours, as means of 
protection, in the whole animal kingdom, it is certainly sur- 
prising that many male animals display brilliant hues, which 
cannot fail to make them conspicuous to their enemies. The 
strong odours emitted by certain reptiles and mammals 
during the pairing season, and the sounds produced by vari- 
ous species at the same period, have also the effect of 
attracting hostile animals that are searching for food. And 
the danger arising for the species from these secondary 
sexual characters is all the greater because they generally 
appear at the time when offspring is about to be produced. 

* Darwin, * The Descent of Man/ vol. ii. p. 384. 

- Nicholson, he, cit. p. i. 6/1 a criticism of * The Descent of Man ' in 
' The Athenaeum,' 1871, March 4th. 
^ Darwin, vol. ii. p. 252. 



Thus, besides colours, structures, and functions, adapted in 
the most marvellous way to the requirements of each species, 
there are others highly dangerous, which, according to Mr. 
Darwin, depend upon an aesthetic sense, the origin of which 
we do not know, and which is absolutely useless. 

Mr. Darwin, in his many works, has shown how immense 
is the influence exercised by natural selection on the organic 
world. A disciple, therefore, naturally feels perplexed when 
he is told of a series of facts, which, according to the ex- 
planation given by the master, are opposed to natural 
selection. When the contradiction between the theories of 
natural and sexual selection is distinctly realized, the ques- 
tion arises : — Can we be sure that the secondary sexual 
characters are so useless as Mr. Darwin suggests ? May not 
they also be explained by the principle of the survival of the 
fittest ? The larger size and greater strength of the males, 
and the weapons of offence or defence many of them possess, 
may easily be so accounted for, as, among the higher animals, 
the males generally fight with each other for the possession of 
the females. The point is whether the other secondary 
sexual characters can be due to the same cause. 

It is an established fact that the colours of flowers serve a 
definite end. Through them the flowers are recognized by 
insects in search of honey ; and the insects, during their visits, 
involuntarily carry the pollen of one flower to the stigma of 
another, and thus effect cross-fertilization, which is proved to 
be of great importance for the vigour and fertility of the next 
generation of plants. Now it is extremely interesting to note 
that brilliant colours are found only in species of flowers to 
which they are useful as means of attracting insects ; they 
never occur in plants which are fertilized by the wind.^ Mr. 
Wallace observes that plants rarely need to be concealed, 
because they obtain protection by their spines, or their hard- 
ness, or their hairy covering, or their poisonous secretions. 
Hence there are very few cases of what seem to be true pro- 
tective colouring among them.^ In animals, on the contrary, 

^ Miiller, * The Fertilisation of Flowers,' p. 14. 
2 Wallace, * Tropical Nature,' p. 223. 


colour is greatly influenced by their need of protection from, 
or warning to, their numerous enemies ; colours of other kinds 
must always, to a certain extent, be dangerous for the species. 
Is it probable, then, that, whilst gay colours occur only in the 
flowers of those plants to which they are of real use, con- 
spicuous colours should occur in animals to which they are of 
real danger — merely because the females find them beautiful ? 

Mr. Wallace, whose well-known criticism of Mr. Darwin's 
theory of sexual selection^ seems, in many points, to be con- 
clusive, suggests that the very frequent superiority of the male 
bird or insect in brightness or intensity of colour is due to 
the greater vigour and activity and the higher vitality of the 
male. This intensity of coloration is therefore most manifest 
in the male during the breeding season, when the vitality is 
at a maximum. It would be further developed by the com- 
bats of the males for the possession of the females ; and the 
most vigorous and energetic usually leaving the most nume- 
rous and most healthy offspring, natural selection would in- 
directly become a preserver and intensifier of colour.* Mr. 
Wallace has made it very probable that there is some con- 
nection between vigour and colour, but another question is 
whether this connection, depending on some unknown phy- 
siological law, is so necessary that it takes place even when 
colour is positively disadvantageous to the species. Nothing 
of the kind is found in the vegetable kingdom. We know, 
as Mr. Wallace himself remarks, that colours which rarely or 
never appear in the species in a state of nature, continually 
occur among cultivated plants and domesticated animals — a 
fact which shows that the capacity to develop colour is ever 
present.* Among wild plants such colour variations are 
never preserved except when they are useful. Is it not most 
reasonable to suppose that the like is the case with animals } 

The truth seems to be that colour subserves the same pur- 
pose in both of the great kingdoms of the organic world. 
Just as flowers are coloured that insects may recognize where 
honey is to be found, and thus may be led to promote fertil- 

1 ' The Colours of Plants and the Origin of the Colour-Sense,' in * Tro- 
pical Nature,' pp. 221-248. * Darwinism,* ch. x. 

« Wallace, 'Tropical Nature,' pp. 193-195. ^ /^/V/., p. 187. 

R 2 


ization, so the sexual colours of animals have been developed 
to make it easier for the sexes to find each other during the 
pairing time. Protective colours are useful so far as they 
conceal the animal from its enemies, but, at the same time, 
they conceal it from individuals of its own species. Sexual 
colours are therefore useful as well, because they make the 
animal more visible. It is quite in accordance with the 
theory of natural selection that, where such colours occur, 
the advantage from them should be greater than the dis- 
advantage. We can see the reason for the brilliant colours 
of humming-birds, as these birds, on account of their 
great activity **are practically unmolested,"^ and for the 
bright hues of the rose chafers, who are saved from attack by 
a combination of protecting characters.* But generally there 
is danger in sexual colours, so that nature has given them 
with the utmost cautiousness. Usually they occur in males 
only, because of the females* greater need of protection.* 
They are not developed till the age of reproduction, and they 
appear, in a great many species, only during the pairing season. 
The greatest advantage is won with the least possible peril. 

It is a fact of great importance that sexual colours occur 
exactly in those species whose habits make these colours 
most visible. Thus the nocturnal moths, taken as a body, are 
much less gaily decorated than butterflies, all of which are 
diurnal in their habits, although, according to Mr. Wallace, 
the general influence of solar light and heat is no adequate 
cause for the variety, intensity, and complexity of the colours. 
The females of the ghost moth are yellow with darker mark- 
ings, whereas the males are white, that they may be more 
easily seen by the females whilst flying about in the dusk ; 
and it is remarkable that, in the Shetland Islands, the male 
of this moth, instead of differing widely from the female, 
frequently resembles her closely in colour, — as Mr. Fraser 
suggests,* because, at the season of the year when the ghost 
moth appears in these northern latitudes, the whiteness of 
the males is not needed to render them visible to the females 

^ Wallace, * Tropical Nature,' p. 213. 

*•* IdenUf * Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection,' pp.73,^/J^y, 

3 Ibid,^ pp. 259-261. * Fraser, in * Nature,* vol. iii. p, 489. 

• ' "^"^ ' ■*■ i°"- 


in the twilight night. Both Mr. Darwin ^ and Mr. Wallace ^ 
think that, in this case, colour may be a means of recognition. 

Sexual colours occur chiefly in species which, because of 
their manner of living, are to be seen at a distance ; they 
seldom occur in sedentary or slowly moving terrestrial 
animals.^ The members of the lowly organized order Thy- 
sanura are wingless and dull- coloured. The Hemiptera, which 
usually lurk about plants, and prey upon hapless insects, are 
not, as a rule, remarkable for conspicuous hues. The Ortho- 
ptera are all terrestrial in their habits, generally feeding upon 
plants, and, although some exotic locusts are beautifully 
ornamented, their bright tints, according to Mr. Darwin, do 
not seem to fall under the head of sexual coloration. On 
the other hand, the dragon-flies, which live in the open air, 
possess splendid green, blue, yellow, and vermilion metallic 
tints, and the sexes often differ in their coloration. Every one 
has admired the extreme beauty of many butterflies, especi- 
ally of the males. Amongst the Fishes, living in a medium 
through which bright colours may be observed at a distance, 
we often find, besides protective colours, conspicuous hues 
which are especially intense and visible during the pairing 
time. Among the Reptiles, the little lizards of the genus 
Draco especially deserve attention ; they glide through the 
air on their rib-supported parachutes, and the beauty of their 
colours baffles description. Mammals, on the other hand, 
do not generally present the splendid tints so common among 
male birds ; and the brighter colours of certain arboreal mam- 
mals serve chiefly as means of concealment. 

These phenomena seem to show that sexual colours have 
been evolved for the purpose of beivg seen. They can 
scarcely be due merely to the fact that coloration is 
connected with the degree of vitality, since the Mam- 
mals, for instance, are certainly not less vigorous than 
any of the other Vertebrate orders. It may perhaps be 

' Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 485. 

^ Wallace, * Darwinism,' p. 270. 

3 The Gallinaceae, however, form an exception ; though almost wholly 
terrestrial, they have the most pronounced sexual colours. But they are 
active and wander much. 


suggested that, as flying animals more easily escape their 
enemies than terrestrial, they may with less danger be deco- 
rated with conspicuous hues. But here we have to observe 
the most important fact that animals which do not possess 
sexual colours generally have some other means of making 
themselves discoverable. 

Flowers which need the help of insects for fertilization attract 
them, in some cases, not by bright colours, but by peculiar 
odours. And as we do not find conspicuous colours in plants 
fertilized by the wind, so flowers have no perfume except 
where it is of real use. The most brilliant flowers, as a rule, 
are those which possess least odour, whilst many of them have 
no scent at all. White or very pale flowers are generally the 
most odoriferous. M. Mongredien gives a list of about i6o 
species of hardy trees and shrubs with showy flowers, and 
another list of sixty species, with fragrant flowers ; but only 
twenty of the latter are included among the showy species, 
and these are almost all white-flowered.^ Most of the white 
flowers are scented only at night, or their perfumes are most 
powerfully emitted at that time ; the reason being that white 
flowers are fertilized chiefly by night-flying insects. We arrive 
thus at two conclusions : first, that powerful odours and con- 
spicuous colours as guides to insect fertilizers are, as a rule, 
complementary to each other ; secondly, that they occur 
alternately in the way most useful to the species. 

In the animal kingdom various odours and sounds are 
closely connected with the reproduction of the species. 
During the season of love a musky odour is emitted by the 
submaxillary glands of the crocodile, and pervades its 
haunts. At the same period the anal scent-glands of snakes 
are in active function, and so are the corresponding glands of 
the lizards. Many mammals are odoriferous. In some cases 
the odour appears to serve as a defence or a protection, but in 
other species the glands are confined to the males, and almost 
always become more active during the rutting season. Again, 
a great many insects have the power of producing stridulous 
sounds. In two families of the Homoptera and in three of 
the Orthoptera, the males alone possess organs of sound in 
^ Wallace, * Tropical Nature,' pp. 230, et seq. 


an efficient state, and these are used incessantly during the 
pairing season. Some male fishes have sound-producing 
instruments, and the fishermen of Rochelle assert that the 
males alone make the noise during the spawning-time. Of 
frogs and toads the males emit various sounds at the pairing 
time, as in the case of the croaking of our common frog. 
During the rutting season, and at no other time, the male of 
the huge tortoise of the Galapagos Islands utters a hoarse 
bellowing noise, which can be heard at a distance of more 
than a hundred yards. Professor Aughey states that on two 
occasions, being himself unseen, he watched from a little dis- 
tance a rattle-snake coiled up with head erect, which continued 
to rattle at short intervals for half an hour ; at last he saw 
another snake approach, and when they met they paired. 
Among Birds the power of song, or of giving forth strange 
cries, or even instrumental music, is exceedingly common, 
particularly in the males during the pairing season ; and 
almost all male mammals use their voices much more during 
that period than at any other time. Some, as the girafTe and 
porcupine, are stated to be completely mute except during 
the rutting season. 

The colours, odours, and sounds of animals, like the colours 
and odours of plants — so far as they may be assumed to be in 
some way connected with the reproductive functions — are, as 
a rule, complementary to each other. Stridulating insects are 
generally not conspicuously coloured. Among the Homoptera, 
there do not seem to be any well-marked cases of ornamental 
differences between the sexes. Among crickets, the Locustidse, 
and grasshoppers, some species are beautifully coloured ; but 
Mr. Darwin says, " It is not probable that they owe their 
bright tints to sexual selection. Conspicuous colours may be 
of use to these insects by giving notice that they are unpalat- 
able." Other species have directly protective colours. The 
bright hues of stridulating beetles seem to be of use chiefly 
for protective and warning purposes ; whereas species belong- 
ing to the orders Neuroptera and Lepidoptera, often extremely 
conspicuously coloured, are not remarkable for any stridulous 
sounds. Frogs and toads, which have an interesting sexual 
character in the musical powers possessed by the males, are 


evidently coloured according to the principle of protection, or 
sometimes tinted with conspicuous hues in order to be more 
easily recognized by their enemies as a nauseous food. Of 
Reptiles, the Lacertilia excel mainly in bright tints ; the 
Chelonia, Crocodilia, and Ophidia, in sounds and odours. 
Among Birds, in one instance at least, the male is remarkable 
for his scent. " During the pairing and breeding season," 
says Mr. Gould, with reference to the Australian musk-duck, 
"... this bird emits a strong musky odour ; " it is not 
ornamented with any conspicuous hues.^ Sexual colours and 
the power of song are generally complementary to each other 
among Birds. " As a general rule," Mr. Wood remarks, " it 
is found that the most brilliant songsters among the birds are 
attired in the plainest garb ; and it may safely be predicted 
of any peculiarly gorgeous bird, that power, quality, and 
sweetness of voice are in inverse ratio to its beauty of 
plumage."^ Thus, of the British birds, with the exception of 
the bullfinch and goldfinch, the best songsters are plain- 
coloured, and the brilliant birds of the tropics are hardly ever 
songsters. The wild camel in the desert of Kum-tagh has a 
reddish, sandy hue, and the males, " even during the rutting 
season, utter no sound, but find their consorts by scent"* 
The musk-deer, well known for the intolerable perfume which 
the males emit at the pairing time, is also entirely silent* 

Moreover, as appears from what has just been said, the 
sexual colours, the perceptible scents and sounds of animals, are 
complementary to each other in the way that is best suited 
to make the animals easily discoverable. As bright colours 
would be of no advantage to flowers fertilized by night-flying 
insects, so they would be of comparatively little advantage 
to animals living among grass and plants, in woods and 
bushes ; whereas sounds and scents make the animal recog- 
nizable at a considerable distance. We have also seen that it 
is among flying and aquatic animals that sexual , colours 
chiefly occur, whereas terrestrial animals excel in sounds and 

* Gould, * Handbook to the Birds of Australia,* vol. ii. p. 383, 

* Wood, loc. cit voL ii. p. 257. 

3 Prejevalsky, * From Kulja to Lob-nor,' pp. 94, 92. 

* Brehm, * Thierleben,' vol. iii. p. 94. 


scents. Thus most of the stridulating insects are terrestrial. 
Whilst brightly-coloured lizards, living on trees or running 
from stone to stone, must attract attention by the brilliance 
of their covering, crocodiles, inhabiting rivers and jungles, 
and frogs, crawling among the grass, allure their mates, the 
former by emitting musky odours, the latter by producing 
loud sounds. The odour of the Australian musk-duck, which 
depends for its food and for its preservation from danger upon 
its powers of diving rather than upon those of flying, is, as 
Mr. Gould observes, often perceptible long before the animal 
can be seen.^ 

Mr. Darwin remarks, as regards birds, " Bright colours and 
the power of song seem to replace each other. We can per- 
ceive that, if the plumage did not vary in brightness, or if 
bright colours were dangerous to the species, other means 
would be employed to charm the females ; and melody of 
voice offers one such means."^ But if we accept Mr. Darwin's 
theory of sexual selection, we are compelled to suppose that 
that inexplicable aesthetic sense of the females has been 
developed in the way most dangerous to the species. Con- 
spicuous colours are admired by the females of those animals 
which, by means of such colours, are most easily discovered 
by their enemies, and sounds and odours are appreciated 
exactly in those species to which they are most perilous. If, 
on the contrary, we accept the explanation that, although 
sexual colours, odours, and sounds are in some ways hurtful 
to the species, they are upon the whole advantageous, inas- 
much as they make it easier for the sexes to find each other, 
we have a theory in accordance with all known facts, as well 
as with the great principle of natural selection. It may be 
objected that it is not the females but the males that are the 
seekers, whilst the secondary sexual characters generally 
occur in the males only. But we have no reason to think 
that the females are entirely passive during the pairing 
season ; and several of the statements collected by Mr. 
Darwin directly indicate that females are attracted by the 
sounds of their future partners. If Burdach is correct in say- 

' Gould, loc, ciL vol. ii. pp. 382, et seg, 

^ Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 62. 


ing that the male sex generally possesses more acute senses 
than the female,^ it is obvious that secondary sexual characters 
would be of less use to females than to males, as it certainly 
would be of greater danger. 

In his work on * Darwinism/ Mr. Wallace expresses the 
opinion that the various sounds and odours which are peculiar 
to the male serve as a call to the female, or as an indication 
of his presence ; and, as he says, ** the production, intensi- 
fication, and differentiation of these sounds and odours are 
clearly within the power of natural selection." * Mr. Wallace 
has also shown the immense importance of colour as a means 
of recognition. The theory here set forth thus, in fact, very 
nearly approaches his views. The only difference is that the 
sexual cdlours have been classified under the head of " colour 
for recognition," though the positive cause by which they 
have been produced may be a surplus of vital energy. 

We have still to consider certain secondary sexual charac- 
ters which, according to Mr. Darwin, must be regarded as 
ornaments. With these he classes the great horns which rise 
from the head, thorax, and clypeus of many male beetles ; 
the appendages with which some male fishes and reptiles arc 
provided ; the combs, plumes, crests, and protuberances of 
many male birds ; and various crests, tufts, and mantles of 
hair which are found in certain mammals. But some of these 
characters may be of use to the males in their fights for 
females, or serve as means of recognition. Mr. Wallace 
suggests that crests and other erectile feathers may have been 
useful in making the bird more formidable in appearance, 
and in thus frightening away enemies ; while long tail or 
wing feathers might serve to distract the aim of a bird of 
prey.* Moreover, characters of which we cannot yet per- 
ceive the use may in the future be brought under the law of 
utility, as has been the case in so many other instances. Ac- 
cording to Mr. Wallace, the ornamental appendages of birds 
and other animals are due to a surplus of vital energy, leading 
to abnormal growths in those parts of the integument where 

* Burdach, * Physiologic,' vol. i. p. 277. 
2 Wallace, * Darwinism,' p. 284. 
' Ibid,^ p. 294. 


muscular and nervous action are greatest.^ And where these 
" ornaments " are of no positive disadvantage to the species, 
certainly no other explanation is needed. 

For other arguments which may be advanced against Mr. 
Darwin's theory of sexual selection, reference may be made 
to Mr. Wallace's criticisms in * Tropical Nature ' and 
* Darwinism.' We have sufficient evidence that females are 
pleased or excited by the males' display of their sexual 
colours,* and are charmed by their songs. But Mr. Darwin's 
theory presupposes, amongst many other things, that almost 
all the females of a species, over a wide area and for many 
successive generations, prefer exactly the same modification 
of the colour, or ornament, or sounds.^ Moreover, if the 
secondary sexual characters are due to female choice, how 
shall we explain the strange fact that the taste of the females 
varies so much that there are scarcely two species in which 
the standard of perfection is exactly the same ? This diffi- 
culty did not escape Mr. Darwin. " It is a curious fact," he 
says, " that in the same class of animals sounds so different 
as the drumming of the snipe's tail, the tapping of the wood- 
pe iter's beak, the harsh trumpet-like cry of certain water- 
fowl, the cooing of the turtle-dove, and the song of the night- 
ingale, should all be pleasing to tho females of the several 
species." And further, " What shall we say about the harsh 
screams of, for instance, some kinds of macaws ; have these 
birds as bad taste for musical sounds as they apparently 
have for colour, judging by the inharmonious contrast of 
their bright yellow and blue plumage.?"* 

The theory now suggested accounts fully for this difference 
in taste. The immense variability of the secondary sexual 

* Wallace, * Darwinism,' p. 293. 

* Mr. Belt {ioc. cit, p. 112) has seen the female oi Florisuga mellivora 
sitting quietly on a branch, and two males displaying their charms in front 
of her. ' One would shoot up like a rocket, then suddenly expanding the 
snow-white tail like an inverted parachute, slowly descend in front of her, 
turning round gradually to show off both back and front. . . . The ex- 
panded white tail covered more space than all the rest of the bird, and 
was evidently the grand feature in the performance.' 

^ See Wallace, * Darwinism,' p. 285. 

^ Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. i. pp. 74, 67. 


characters is precisely what might be expected, if their object 
is to make it easier for the sexes to find and recognize each 
other. And it is natural that the females should be pleased 
by colours, odours, or sounds which, by the association of 
ideas, are to them the symbols of the most exciting period of 
their lives. On the other hand, we know that differently 
coloured races of the same species may be disinclined to pair 
together.^ And here, I think, we may draw an important 
conclusion. The great stability of the secondary sexual 
characters which we find in wild species, but certainly not in 
animals under domestication, seems to be due chiefly to the 
fact that those males which most typically represent the 
peculiarities of their species have the best chance of finding 

The reader may have felt some surprise at this strange 
jump from the patria potestas to a discussion of merely zoolo- 
gical facts, which have nothing to do, directly, with the 
history of human marriage. But we have now to deal with the 
sexual selection of man, and, for the right understanding of 
this, it was necessary to show that the sexual selection of the 
lower animals is entirely subordinate to the great law of 
natural selection. Mr.. Darwin discussed the origin of the 
secondary sexual characters as a preliminary to the statement 
of his theory regarding the origin of man, and of the different 
races of men. At the end of the next chapter we shall con- 
sider whether this theory appears to be in accordance with 
facts or not. 

^ Darwin, 'Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii.pp. 102- 104. 




By the " Sexual Selection of Man " is meant the choice 
made by men and women as regards relations with the oppo- 
site sex. Mr. Darwin has shown that such selection takes 
place among the lower Vertebrata, and, judging from what we 
know of domesticated animals, it is much more common in 
the case of females than in that of males. The male, indeed, 
as a rule, seems to be ready to pair with any female, provided 
she belongs to his own species.^ As this probably depends 
upon the great strength of his sexual impulse, we may infer 
that in primitive times, when man had a definite pairing 
season, he displayed a like tendency, and that the sexual 
instinct, in proportion as it has become less intense, has 
become more discriminating. 

Even now woman is more particular in her choice than 
man, provided that the union takes place without reference 
to interest. A Maori proverb says, " Let a man be ever so 
good-looking, he will not be much sought after ; but let a 
woman be ever so plain, men will still eagerly seek after 
her."^ With regard to the Negroes of Sogno, Merolla da 
Sorrento states, "Women would have experience of their 

1 According to Professor Vogt (* Lectures on Man,' p. 421), the aversion 
between allied species in the wild state is more frequently overcome by 
the males than by the females ; and, in crosses between wild and 
domesticated animals, the female generally belongs to the domesticated 
species or race (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, * Histoire naturelle gdndrale,' 
vol. iii. p. 177). 

^ Taylor, loc, cit pp. 293, et seq. 


husbands before they married them, in like manner as the 
men were to have of them ; and in this particular I can aver 
that they are commonly much more obstinate or fickle than 
men, for I have known many instances in which the men 
were willing to be married, while the women held back, and 
either fled away or made excuses."^ Among the Eastern 
Central Africans, according to Mr. Macdonald, many cases 
are known of slave wives running away from free husbands, 
but none of slave husbands running away from free wives.* 
In the crossings between unequal human races, the father 
almost always belongs to the superior race. " In every case," 
says M. de Quatrefages, "and especially in transient amours, 
woman refuses to lower herself; man is less delicate." * Thus, 
cases in which negresses form unions with the indigenous 
men of America are very rare ; * and Dr. Nott, who wrote in 
the middle of this century, never personally met any one who 
was the offspring of a negro man and a white woman, 
because of the extreme rarity of such half-breeds.* In New 
Zealand it sometimes happens that a European man marries 
a Maori woman ; but Mr. Kerry-Nicholls never came across 
an instance where a European woman had married a Maori 
man.^ Even in civilized society men are less particular in 
their connections than women of corresponding education, no 
doubt, would be, even if the rules of every-day morality were 
the same for both sexes. 

In this and the following four chapters we shall deal with 
the instinctive feelings by which the sexes are guided in the 
act of selection. We have already observed that the sexual 
instinct is excited by artificial means, such as ornaments, 
mutilations, &c. Now we have to consider the intrinsic 
characters of a human being which affect the passions of a 
person of the opposite sex. 

^ Merolla da Sorrento, loc. cif. p. 236. 

'^ Macdonald, ' Africana,' vol. i. p. 141. 

^ de Quatrefages, * The Human Species,' p. 267. 

* Peschel, loc, ciL p. 8, note 8. 

* Nott and Gliddon, 'Types of Mankind,' p. 401. 

« Kerry-Nicholls, *The Maori Race,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xv. p. 


Mr. Darwin has shown that, among the lower Vertebrata, 
the female commonly gives the preference to " the most 
vigorous, defiant, and mettlesome male," — a taste the origin of 
which is easily accounted for by the theory of natural selec- 
tion. A similar instinctive appreciation of manly strength 
and courage is found in women, especially in the women of 
savage races. In a song, communicated by Mr. Schoolcraft, 
an Indian girl gives the following description of her ideal: — 
" My love is tall and graceful as the young pine waving on 
the hill — And as swift in his course as the noble stately deer 
— His hair is flowing, and dark as the blackbird that floats 
through the air — And his eyes, like the eagle's, both piercing 
and bright — His heart, it is fearless and great — And his arm, 
it is strong in the fight.*' ^ A tale from Madagascar tells of a 
princess whose beauty fascinated all men. Many princes 
fought to obtain possession of her ; but she refused them all, 
and chose a lover who was young, handsome, courageous, and 
strong.* The beautiful Atalanta gave herself to the best 
runner ; * and the hero-suitors of the Finnish myths had to 
undergo difficult trials to prove their courage.* "When a 
Dyak wants to marry," says Mr. Bock, " he must show him- 
self a hero before he can gain favour with his intended." He 
has to secure a number of human heads by killing men of 
hostile tribes; and the more heads he cuts off", the greater 
the pride and admiration with which he is regarded by his 
bride.5 The demands of the Sakalava girls of Madagascar 
are less cruel. When a young man wishes to obtain a 
wife, his qualifications, according to Mr. Sibree, are tested 
thus : — " Placed at a certain distance from a clever caster 
of the spear, he is bidden to catch between his arm and 
side every spear thrown by the man opposite to him. If he 
displays fear or fails to catch the spear, he is ignominiously 
rejected ; but if there be no flinching and the spears are 

* Schoolcraft, loc. ciL vol. v. p. 612. 

* Legudvel de Lacombe, 'Voyage k Madagascar,' vol. ii. pp. 1 21-123. 
3 Apollodorus Atheniensis, * BijSXto^^iciy,' book iii. ch. ix. § 2. 

* Cf, Gastrin, in *Litterara Soir^er,* 1849, P- 12. 

^ Bock, * The Head-Huntcrs of Borneo,' p. 216. Cf, Wilkes, loc. ciL 
vol. V. p. 363 ; Dalton, loc, at. pp. 40, et seq. (Nagas of Upper Assam). 


caught, he is at once proclaimed an * accepted lover/ " It is 
said that a similar custom prevailed among the Betsil6o, 
another Madagascar tribe.^ Among the Dongolowees, as we 
are informed by Dr. Felkin, if two men are suitors for a girl, 
and there is a difficulty in deciding between the rivals, the 
following method is adopted. The fair lady has a knife tied 
to each forearm, so fixed that the blade of the knife projects 
below the elbow. She then takes up a position on a 1(^ 
of wood, the young men sitting on either side with their legs 
closely pressed against hers. Raising her arms, the girl leans 
forward, and slowly presses the knives into the thighs of her 
would-be husbands. The suitor who best undergoes this 
trial of endurance wins the bride, whose first duty after mar- 
riage is to dress the wounds she has herself inflicted.^ 
Speaking of the natives on the River Darling, Major T. L. 
Mitchell says that the possession of gins, or wives, appears to 
be associated with all their ideas of fighting ; " while, on the 
other hand, the gins have it in their power on such occasions 
to evince that universal characteristic of the fair, a partiality 
for the brave. Thus it is, that, after a battle, they do not 
always follow their fugitive husbands from the field, but fre- 
quently go over, as a matter of course, to the victors." ^ 

We may infer that women's instinctive inclination to strong 
and courageous men is due to natural selection in two ways. 
A strong man is not only father of strong children, but he is 
also better able than a weak man to protect his offspring. 
The female instinct is especially well marked at the lower 
stages of civilization, because bodily vigour is then of most 
importance in the struggle for existence. The same principle 
explains the attraction which health in a woman has for men. 
In civilized society, infirmity and sickliness are not always 
a serious hindrance to love, but in a savage state, says 
Alexander v. Humboldt, "nothing can induce a man to 
unite himself to a deformed woman, or one who is very 

' Sibree, loc. cit. p. 251. 
^ Wilson and Felkin, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 310. 

^ Mitchell, ' Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia,' vol. i. 
p. 307. * V. Humboldt, loc, cit vol. iii. p. 233. 


The ancient Greeks conceived Eros as an extremely hand- 
some youth, and Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty as 
well as of love. So closely are these twb ideas — love and 
beauty — connected. This connection is not peculiar to the 
civilized mind. In Tahiti, Cook saw several instances where 
women preferred personal beauty to interest.^ The Negroes 
of the West African Coast, according to Mr. Winwood 
Reade, often discuss the beauty of their women ; ^ and, among 
the cannibal savages of Northern Queensland, described by 
Herr Lumholtz, the women take much notice of a man's face, 
especially of the part about the eyes.^ But, although in 
every country, in every race, beauty stimulates passion, the 
ideas of what constitutes beauty vary indefinitely. As Hume 
says, " Beauty is no quality in things themselves ; it exists 
merely in the mind which contemplates them ; and each mind 
perceives a different beauty."* 

A flat, retreating brow seems to white men to spoil what 
would otherwise be a pretty face ; but " the Chinook ideal of 
facial beauty," says Mr. Bancroft, " is a straight line from the 
end of the nose to the crown of the head."^ A little snub- 
nose may embitter the life of a European girl ; but the 
Australian natives " laugh at the sharp noses of Europeans, 
and call them in their language * tomahawk noses,' much 
preferring their own style of flat broad noses."® The 
Tahitians frequently said to Mr. Williams, " What a pity it 
is, that English mothers pull the children's noses so much, and 
make them so frightfully long ! "^ We admire white teeth and 
rosy cheeks ; but a servant of the king of Cochin China spoke 
with contempt of the wife of the English ambassador, because 
she had white teeth like a dog and a rosy colour like that of 

' Cook, * Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,' vol. ii. p. 161. 

- Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. pp. 373, et seq. 

^ Lumholtz, loc. cit p. 213. * Hume, * Essays,' vol. i. p. 268. 

* Bancroft, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 227. Cf, Sproat, loc, cit p. 29 ; Heriot, 
loc, cit. p. 348. 

• Palmer, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst,' vol. xiii. p. 280, note. 

7 Williams, * Narrative of Missionary Enterprises,' p. 539. Cf, Ellis, 
* Poljmesian Researches/ vol. i. p. 81 ; King and Fitzroy, loc. cit. vol. ii. 
p. 527. 



potato flowers.^ In the northern parts of the Chinese 
Empire, according to Pallas, those women are preferred who 
are of the Manchu type, — that is, who have a broad face, high 
cheek-bones, very broad noses, and enormous ears ;* and the 
South American Uaup^s consider a swollen calf one of the 
chief attractions a young lady can possess, the result being 
that girls wear a tight garter below the knee from infancy.^ 

Even among the Aryan peoples the standard of beauty 
varies. '* To an honest Fleming, who has never studied design,'* 
says M. Bombet, " the forms of Rubens's women are the most 
beautiful in the world. Let not us, who admire slenderness 
of form above everything else, and to whom the figures even 
of Raphael's women appear rather massive, be too ready to 
laugh at him. If we were to consider the matter closely, it 
would appear that each individual, and, consequently, each 
nation, has a separate idea of beauty.*'* 

What human characteristics are considered beautiful, and 
how has beauty come to influence the sexual selection of 
man > In trying to answer these questions, we shall note 
only such characteristics as are held to be beautiful by con- 
siderable groups of men, apart from individual differences of 
taste ; and we shall confine ourselves to physical beauty, as 
presenting itself in bodily forms and the colour of the skin. 
Mr. Spencer maintains that " mental and facial perfection are 
fundamentally connected," and that " the aspects which please 
us are the outward correlatives of inward perfections, while the 
aspects which displease us are the outward correlatives of 
inward imperfections."* But Mr. Spencer evidently looks 
upon beauty, or " facial perfection," as something real in the 
sense in which mental qualities are real, — an opinion with 

^ Waltz, ' Introduction to Anthropology,' p. 305. 

2 Prichard, ' Researches into the Physical History of Mankind,' voL iv. 
p. 519. 

3 Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon/ p. 493. For other instances of 
different ideas of beauty, see Darwin, *The Descent of Man,' voL ii. 
pp. 374-381. * Bombet, * The Lives of Haydn and Mozart,' p. 278- 

^ Spencer, ' Essays,' vol. ii. pp. 162, 156. Mr. Spencer's view on this 
point bears a close resemblance to that of Vischer, the Hegeh'an^ 
according to whom the Indo-European race alone is really beaulifui 
(Vischer, ^Aesthetik,' vol. ii. pp. 175, et seq,). 

~::r-i'iii,i\»it i. m mitf ,m 


which it is difficult to agree. The lateral jutting-out of the 
cheek-bones, which seems to him an index of imperfection, is 
admired by many of the lower races. 

The full development of those visible properties which are 
essential to the human organism is universally recognized as 
indispensable to perfect beauty, — natural deformity, the un- 
symmetrical shape of the body, apparent traces of disease, 
&c., being regarded by every race as unfavourable to personal 
appearance. We distinguish between masculine and feminine 
beauty, and, in spite of racial differences, the ideas of what 
constitute these forms of beauty are fundamentally the same 
throughout the world. To be really handsome a person must 
approach the ideal type of his or her sex. The male organism 
is remarkable for the development of the muscular system, the 
female for that of fatty elements ; and conspicuous muscles 
are everywhere considered to improve the appearance of a 
man, rounded forms that of a woman. According to v. Hum- 
boldt, the natives of Guiana, to express the beauty of a 
woman, say that "she is fat and has a narrow forehead." 
A traveller found that a Kirghiz's estimate of female beauty 
was regulated by the amount of fat, " for even when dilating 
on the beauties of his favourite wife, he laid the greatest stress 
on her embonpoint!'^ The Kafirs and Hottentots are charmed 
by their women's long and pendant breasts, which, in certain 
tribes, assume such monstrous dimensions, that the usual way 
of giving suck, when the child is carried on the back, is by 
throwing the breast over the shoulder.* Mr. Reade tells us 
that, among the Mpongw6 of Gaboon, even very young girls 
"strive to emulate the pendant beauties of their seniors."^ 
The Makololo women, according to Dr. Livingstone, make 
themselves fat and pretty by drinking a peculiar drink called 
" boydloa " ; * and, among the Trarsa, a Moorish tribe in the 
Western Sahara, the women take immense quantities of 
milk and butter to make themselves more attractive.^ Such 

* Spencer, ' Descriptive Sociology,' Asiatic Races, p. 29. 

* V. Weber, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 174 ; vol. ii. p. 200. Barrow, loc, cit. vol. 
i. p. 390. 

' Reade, loc. cit, p. 74. ^ Livingstone, loc, cit, p. 186. 

* Chavanne, * Die Sahara,' p. 454. Cf. ibid,, p. 34a 

S 2 


exaggerations, however repugnant to a more refined taste, 
indicate a general tendency in men's notions of female 

Among Europeans, men are on an average two or three 
inches taller than women,^ and have a greater breadth of 
shoulder. A high-built and broad-shouldered figure is also 
regarded as an ideal of manly beauty, whereas women who 
are very tall or broad are apt to be rather awkward. A 
woman's face is shorter, her mouth less broad, her nose less 
prominent, her neck longer, her pelvis wider, her waist 
narrower than a man's ; and her fingers are more slender and 
pointed, her hands and feet smaller. The halving line of a 
woman's body is lower than that of a man's, so that her steps 
are shorter and lighter.'-* As a matter of fact, a long face 
a broad mouth, and large hands and feet are much more 
objectionable in a woman than in a man. Women have a 
special liking for low-bodied dresses, which display the full 
length of the neck ; and by means of a corset they make the 
waist narrower than it is by nature. 

There is thus an ideal of beauty which, no doubt, may be 
said to be common to the whole human race. But this ideal 
is merely an abstraction which can never be realized. 
General similarities in taste are accompanied by specific 
differences. Though every one admits that a face without a 
nose is ugly, no particular form of the nose is universally 
admired ; and races which regard a swelling bosom as essen- 

^ This rule does not hold good for all races. Speaking of the natives 
of King George's Sound, Cook remarks (* Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,' 
vol. ii. p. 303) that ' the women are nearly of the same size, colour, and 
form, with the men ; from whom it is not easy to distinguish them.' 
Ellis states ('Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 81) that, among the 
Tahitians, the difference between the stature of the male and female sex 
is not so great as that which often prevails in Europe. Diodorus Siculos 
says {foe, cit. book v. ch. xxxii. § 2) that the Gallic women were as tall as the 
men ; and Dr. Fritsch asserts {foe, cit. p. 398) the same with reference to 
the Bushman women of South Africa. Among the Californian Shas- 
tika, according to Mr. Powers {loc, cit, p. 244), the women are even 
' larger and stronger* featured, and in every way more respectable,* than 
the men. Cf, Burton, * First Footsteps,' p. 118 (Somals). 

2 Ploss, * Das Weib,' vol. i. pp. 9, et seq. 


tial to feminine beauty differ widely from the Hottentots as 
to the charm of pendant breasts. 

Every race has, indeed, its own standard of beauty. 
Alexander von Humboldt long ago observed, " Nations 
attach the idea of beauty to everything which particularly 
characterizes their own physical conformation, their natural 
physiognomy. Thence it results that, if nature have bestowed 
very little beard, a narrow forehead, or a brownish-red skin, 
every individual thinks himself beautiful in proportion as his 
body is destitute of hair, his head flattened, his skin more 
covered with * annotto/ or ' chica,' or some other coppery-red 
colour."^ This view has been adopted by several later 
writers,^ but, as it has been disputed by others,* it may be well 
to bring together some fresh evidence, as an addition to that 
collected by Mr. Darwin. 

The Sinhalese, says Dr. Davy, who are great connoisseurs 
of the charms of the sex, and have books on the subject, and 
rules to aid the judgment, wouM not allow a woman to be per- 
fectly beautiful unless she had the following characteristics : — 
" Her hair should be voluminous like the tail of the peacock, 
long, reaching to the knees, and terminating in graceful curls ; 
her nose should be like the bill of the hawk, and lips bright 
and red, like coral on the young leaf of the iron-tree. Her 
neck should be large and round, her chest capacious, her 
breasts firm and conical, like the yellow cocoa-nut, and her 
waist small — almost small enough to be clasped by the hand. 
Her hips should be wide ; her limbs tapering ; the soles of 
her feet without any hollow, and the surface of her body in 
general, soft, delicate, smooth, and rounded, without the 
asperities of projecting bones and sinews." Dr. Davy adds, 
" The preceding is the most general external character that 
can be given of the Sinhalese."* 

The women of the Indo-European race are remarkable 

* V. Humboldt, loc, cit. vol. iii. pp. 236, et seq, 

* Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire, 'Histoire des anomalies,' vol. i. p. 268. 
Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 381. Mantegazza, * Rio de la 
Plata e Tenerife.' Waitz-Gerland, loc. cit. vol. vi. p. 27. 

3 Martineau, 'Types of Ethical Theory,* vol. ii. p. 157. Delaunay, 
* Sur la beautd,* in * Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. viii. p. 198. 

* Davy, loc. cit, pp. no, et seq. 


for the length of their hair. " Dans nos contr^es," 
Isidore Geoffroy observes, "ces ddveloppements ajoutent 
k la beaut6 des femmes ; dans d'autres pays, si on les y 
observait, ils passeraient presque* pour de 16gers vices de 
conformation."^ " A small round face," says Gastrin, ** full 
rosy red cheeks and lips, white forehead, black tresses, and 
small dark eyes are marks of a Samoyede beauty. Thus in 
a Samoyedian song a girl is praised for her small eyes, her 
broad face, and its rosy colour."* These, as we know, are the 
typical characteristics of the Samoyedes.* As' to the Tartar 
women, who generally have far less prominent noses than we 
in Europe are accustomed to see. Father de Rubruquis states, 
" The less their noses the handsomer they are esteemed."* 
In Fiji, the remarkably broad occiput, peculiar to its people, 
is looked upon as a mark of beauty.* Among the Egyptians 
Mr. Lane scarcely ever saw corpulent persons, and, unlike 
many other African peoples, they do not admire very fat 
women : — " In his love-songs, • the Egyptian commonly de- 
scribes the object of his affections as of slender figure, and 
small waist."^ " The negroes," says v. Humboldt, " give the 
preference to the thickest and most prominent lips ; the 
Kalmucks to turned-up noses ; and the Greeks, in the statues 
of heroes, raised the facial line from 85"* to 100** beyond 
nature. The Aztecs, who never disfigure the heads of their 
children, represent their principal divinities, as their hiero- 
glyphical manuscripts prove, with a head much more 
flattened than any I have ever seen among the Caribs."^ 

The fashion, prevalent among many peoples, of transform^ 
ing parts of the body, affords a good illustration of their ideas 

^ Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire, ' Histoire des anomalies,' vol. i. p. 268. 

' Gastrin, ' Nordiska resor och forskningar,' vol. i. p. 229. 

^ Prichard, /oc. cit vol. iv. pp. 434, et seq. 

^ de Rubruquis, loc, ciL p. 33. 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit. vol. vi. p. 543. 

® Lane, loc, cit, voL i. pp. 38 ; 259, note *. 

7 V. Humboldt, 'Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain,' 
vol. i. p. 154, note. For other evidence for v. Humboldtls theory, see — 
besides Darwin, * The Descent of Man * — Waitz, loc, cit. vol. iv. pp, 62, 
et seq.\ vol. vi. pp. 543, 571 ; Idem^ 'Introduction to Anthropology,' 
p. 305 ; Zimmermann, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 11. 

— '■■ 1 ri* II I • 


about personal beauty. The Indians of North America, who 
have a low and flat forehead, often exaggerate this natural 
peculiarity by an artificial flattening of the forehead.^ In 
Tahiti, Samoa, and other islands of the Pacific Ocean, it has 
been customary from time immemorial to flatten the occiputs 
and to press the noses of the infants, as Professor Gerland 
observes, in order to increase a national characteristic which 
is considered beautiful.^ The same practice occurs in Sumatra,, 
and Marsden could learn no other reason for it, but that it 
was an improvement of beauty in the estimation of the 
natives.* Among the Ovambo of South Africa, the fashion 
is quite different : — ** With the exception of the crown, which 
is always left untouched," says Andersson, " the men often 
shave the head, which has the effect of magnifying the natural 
prominence of the hinder parts of it."* Among the Chinese, 
small feet are considered a woman's chief attraction ; hence 
the feet of girls are pressed from early childhood. Now we 
know, from the measurements made by Scherzer and Schwarz, 
that Chinese women have by nature unusually small feet — a 
peculiarity which has always distinguished them from thetr 
Tartar neighbours. And, as a matter of fact, the Manchu 
Tartars, who at present rule the Chinese empire, never press 
the feet of their daughters.^ 

Each race considers its own colour preferable to every 
other. The North American Indians admire ** a tawny hide," 
and the Chinese dislike the white skin of the Europeans.** 
Some young New Zealanders, who themselves were lightly 
copper-coloured, were greatly amused at the dark tint of an 
Australian, and laughed at him for being so ugly.' Barrington 
tells us, on the other hand, of an Australian woman who, 
having had a child by a white man, smoked it and rubbed it 

* Macfie, loc, cit, p. 441. Heriot, loc. cit, p. 348. Catlin, 'Last 
Rambles amongst the Indians/ pp. 145, et seq, 

* Ellis, * Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 81. Angas, * Polynesia,' 
p. 272. Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. vi. p. 27. 

3 Marsden, loc, cit pp. 44, et seq, * Andersson, ioc, cit, p. 196. 

* Welcker, * Die Fusse der Chinesinnen,* in ' Archiv f. Anthr.,' vol. v. 
p. 149. Katscher, ' Bilder aus dem chinesischen Leben,' p. 51. 

6 Darwin, 'The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 377. 

7 Angas, * Savage Life,' vol. i, pp. 304, 280. 


with oil to give it a darker colour.* The Hovas, who are pro- 
bably, as a rule, the lightest people in Madagascar, often put 
a spot of dark colour on the cheeks, in order to heighten the 
effect of their fair complexion, of which they are very proud.- 
Among the Malays, according to Mr. Crawfurd, " the standard 
of perfection in colour is virgin gold, and, as a European 
lover compares the bosom of his mistress to the whiteness of 
snow, the East Insular lover compares that of his to the 
yellowness of the precious metal."^ 

The object of the painting of the body, so commonly 
practised among savages, seems sometimes to be to exaggerate 
the natural colour of the skin. Von Humboldt believes that 
this is the reason why the American Indians paint them- 
selves with red ochre and earth.* The natives of Tana, who 
have the colour of an old copper coin, usually dye their 
bodies a few shades darker f whilst the Bornabi Islanders, 
who have a light copper-coloured complexion, " anoint their 
bodies with turmeric, in order to give themselves a whiter 
appearance."® The Javanese, when in full dress, smear them- 
selves with a yellow cosmetic.^ And, speaking of the people 
of a place in Maabar (Coromandel Coast), Marco Polo says, 
" The children that are born here are black enough, but the 
blacker they be the more they are thought of; wherefore from 
the day of their birth their parents do rub them every week 
with oil of sesamd, so that they become as black as devils. 
Moreover, they make their gods black and their devils white, 
and the images of their saints they do paint black all over."^ 

The question, — What characteristics of the human form are 
deemed beautiful ? may now be answered. Men find beauty 
in the full development of the visible characteristics belonging 

* Waitz, * Introduction to Anthropology/ p. 305. 

* Sibree, /oc, at. pp. in, 210. 

^ Crawfurd, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 23. For additional evidence, sec Bock, 
* The Head-Hunters of Borneo,' p. 183 ; Zimmermann, loc. ciL vol. ii. 
p. 92 ; Georgi, loc, at, pp. 452, 455. 

* Darwin, * The Descent of Man,* vol. ii. p. 383. 

* Turner, * Samoa,' p. 307. 

* Angas, 'Polynesia,' pp. 381, ^/ seq, Cheyne, loc, cit. p. 105. 
^ Crawfurd, vol. i. p. 23. 

" Marco Polo, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 291. 


to the human organism in general ; of those peculiar to the 
sex ; of those peculiar to the race. We have next to consider 
the connection between love and beauty. 

That this connection does not depend upon the aesthetic 
pleasure excited by beauty is obvious from the fact that the 
intrinsic character of an aesthetic feeling is disinterestedness, 
whereas the intrinsic character of love is the very reverse. So 
far as beauty implies the full development of characteristics 
essential to the human organism, or to either of the sexes, the 
preference given to it follows from the instinctive inclination 
to healthiness, already mentioned, and needs no further 
discussion. The question is to explain the stimulating influ- 
ence of racial perfection. 

"In barbarous nations,'* says v. Humboldt, "there is a 
physiognomy peculiar to the tribe or horde rather than to 
any individual. When we compare our domestic animals with 
those which inhabit our forests, we make the same observa- 
tion."^ The accuracy of this statement has been confirmed 
by later writers f and we may say with M. Godron, " C'est 
aujourd'hui un fait parfaitement acquis a la science, que plus 
un peuple se rapproche de T^tat de nature, plus les hommes 
qui le composent se ressemblent entre eux."^ This likeness 
does not refer to the physiognomy only, but to the body as a 
whole. The variations of stature, for instance, are known to 
be least considerable among the peoples least advanced in 

It cannot be doubted that this greater similarity is due 
partly to the greater uniformity of the conditions of life to 
which uncivilized peoples are subject. According to Villerme 
and Quetelet, an inequality of stature is observed not only 
between the inhabitants of towns on the one hand and those 
of the country on the other, but also, in the interior of 
towns, between individuals of different professions.^ There 

' V. Humboldt, * Political Essay/ p. 141. 

* Cf, Lawrence, * Lectures on Physiology,' &c., p. 474. 
^ Godron, * De Fesp^ce et des races,' vol. ii. p. 310. 

* Ibid,^ vol. ii. pp. 175, et seq, 

* Quetelet, loc, cit. pp. 59, et seq. Cf, Ranke, ' Der Mensch,' vol. i: 
PP' 77~79> 1^6, et seq. 


is, however, another factor which is, I think, of still greater 

The deviations from the national type, which occur spora- 
dically, have been considered the result of disease, and can, 
as Professor Waitz observes, " but rarely become permanent, 
as the national type is always that which harmonizes with the 
soil and the climate, and the external relations in which the 
respective peoples live.**^ We must assume that a certain 
kind of constitution is best suited for certain conditions of 
life, and that every considerable deviation from this must 
perish in the struggle for existence in a state in which natural 
selection is constantly at work and physical qualities are of 
the first importance. We know from Isidore Geoffroy's in- 
vestigations that persons who deviate much, with regard to 
the length of body, from the common standard — ^they may be 
dwarfs or giants — are, as a rule, abnormal in other respects 
also, being deficient in intelligence as well as in the power 
of reproduction, and being especially liable to premature 
death.2 Sj^. '\y Lawrence, too, remarks that the strength of 
men who have considerably exceeded the ordinary standard 
has by no means corresponded to their size, and that " there 
are very few instances of what we can deem healthy, well- 
made men, with all the proper attributes of the race, much 
below the general standard."^ If, among civilized peoples, 
such deviations indicate some disturbance of the vital func- 
tions, and, as a consequence, are unfavourable to existence, 
this must be even more the case with savage tribes, all the 
members of which are subject to nearly the same conditions 
of life. Abnormal characteristics may sometimes flourish in 
a highly civilized society, but they are doomed to perish in 
communities among whom the struggle for existence is far 
more severe. 

It may at first sight seem strange that all the characteris- 
tics, however slight, in which the various races of men differ 
from each other, should harmonize with particular conditions 

^ Waitz, * Introduction to Anthropology,' p. 86. 

* Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 'Histoire des anomalies,' vol. i. pp. 158, 159, 
182-185. Q^ Ranke, loc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 131- 136. 
3 Lawrence, loc. cit, p. 400. 


of life to the exclusion of others. But it must be remembered 
that, if we had fuller knowledge, characteristics which seem to 
us useless, or even hurtful, might be seen to be useful. We 
know the utility of some special characteristics, and that of 
others may, at least provisionally, be assumed. It is certain 
that the physiological functions of most persons who quit 
their native land and settle in a wholly different region, must 
undergo a considerable change if the new conditions are not 
to have injurious effects. Moreover, many bodily structures 
are so intimately related, that when one part varies others 
vary also, though, in most instances, we are quite unable to 
assigi\ any reason why this should be the case. 

Savage men are generally distinguished for relatively large 
jaws, which, no doubt, are of use in a state of nature, where 
food is often hard and tough, where the jaws have to per- 
form the functions of knife and fork, and where the teeth 
occasionally serve as implements. This racial peculiarity, 
being in fact only a mark of low civilization, is thus easily 
accounted for by the law of natural selection. The less man, 
with advancing civilization, was in want of large and strong 
jaws, the greater was the chance for individuals born' with 
smaller jaws to survive ; hence a race with comparatively 
small jaws gradually arose. Indeed, Professor Virchow has 
shown that the prognathous type of face is inconsistent with 
the full development of the brain.^ 

Another peculiarity which characterizes the lower races of 
men is the lateral jutting-out of the cheek-bones. But, as 
Mr. Spencer observes, this excessive size of the cheek-bones 
is only an accompaniment of large jaws. Other peculiarities 
of feature — depression of the bridge of the nose, forward 
opening of the nostrils, widespread ala^ and a long and large 
mouth — constantly co-exist with large and protuberant jaws 
and great cheek-bones, alike in uncivilized races and in the 
young of civilized races ;^ hence we cannot believe that the 
connection is merely accidental. • 

Professor Schaaffhausen has noticed that many peculiarities 
of the skull are coincident with arrested cerebral development 

^ Virchow, ' Untersuchungen iiber die Entwickelung des Schadel- 
grundcs,* p. 121. ^ Spencer, * Essays,' vol. ii. pp. 153, et seg 


and correlated to each other : — ** The characters observed in 
the skulls of the lower races, namely, a narrow and low frontal 
bone, a short sagittal suture, a low temporal squama, a short 
occipital squama, the upper margin of which forms a flat arch, 
are therefore to be considered as approximations to the 
animal form, and they stand to each other in organic con- 
nection."^ It seems as if stature and muscular force were in 
some way connected with the dolichocephalic and the 
brachycephalic forms of the skull, for Welcker found that 
short men and short races incline more to the latter, tall men 
and tall races to the former. Again, according to Fick, the 
muscles exercise a remarkable influence on the form of the 
bones in general, and particularly upon some cranial bones.^ 

The process of acclimatization affords opportunities for 
the study of the connection between organic structures and 
functions on the one hand, and surrounding nature on the 
other. At present, however, our knowledge of the subject is 
exceedingly scanty. It has been asserted that the curly hair 
of the European becomes straight in America. — like the hair 
of an Indian ; that in North America, as in New South Wales, 
children of European parents are apt to become tall and lean, 
whilst there is a tendency among European colonists at the 
Cape to grow fat, — which reminds us of the steatopygy of the 
native women.^ Almost all that we know with certainty is, 
that, in the process of acclimatization, man has to undergo a 
change, and that this change is often too great to be endurable. 
As Dr.Felkin observes, Europeans are almost incapable of form- 
ing colonies in the tropics ;* and, with few exceptions, they have 
been unable to rear a sound progeny there in marriage with 
white women.* Colonel Hadden, who has spent sixteen years 
in India, informs me that it is a prevalent opinion among 
British officers in that country that an English regiment of a 

1 Schaaffhausen, * On the Primitive Form of the Human Skull,' in 
* The Anthropological Review.* voL vi. p. 416. ^ Ibtd^y p. 419. 

' Waitz, * Introduction to Anthropology^ pp. 53, et seq. Cf. de Quatre- 
fages, loc, cit p. 254. 

* * Edinburgh Medical Journal,' vol. xxxi. pt. ii. p. 852. 

^ Joest, in 'Verhandl. Berl. Ges. Anthr.,* 1885, p. 475. Cf, PescheU 
loc, ciL pp. 19, et seq. 

. -3 i - 


thousand men would, within thirteen years, from climate, dis- 
ease,or other casualties, almost wholly die out. This statement 
well agrees with Professor Sprenger's, that a regiment con- 
sisting of eight hundred men loses within ten years more than 
seven hundred.^ It is also, according to Colonel Hadden, a 
common report that, of a third generation of pure Europeans 
in India, children only are, occasionally, met with, and that 
they never reach the age of puberty.^ English parents, as a 
rule, send their children to Europe when five or six years old, as 
•otherwise they would succumb.^ According to Mr. Squier, 
it is the concurrent testimony of all intelligent and observing 
men in Central America, that the pure whites are there not 
only relatively but absolutely decreasing in numbers, whilst 
the pure Indians are rapidly increasing, and the Ladinos more 
and more approximating to the aboriginal type.* 
, The colour of the skin is justly considered one of the chief 
<:haracteristics of race. Now it is quite impossible to assign 
any definite reason why one race is white, another black, 
brown, or yellow. Nobody has yet been able to prove that 
the colour of the skin is of any direct use to man, and it 
certainly is not the immediate result of long exposure to a 
certain climate. But we know that there exists an intimate 
connection between the colour of the skin and bodily consti- 
tution. •* Les colorations diverses," says M. Godron, " qui 
<iistinguent les diffdrentes vari6t6s de Tespece humaine, 
tiennent beaucoup moins aux agents physiques, qu'aux 
phdnom^nes les plus intimes de Torganisation qui, dans 
r^tat actuel de la science, nous 6chappent et resteront peut-^tre 
toujours converts d'un voile impenetrable." * Thus the alter- 
ation in the customary physiological functions called acclima- 
tization, seems often to be connected with some change of 
colour not directly depending upon the influence of the sun. 
Dr. Mayer observed that a European at the tropics loses his 

1 * Verhandl. Berl. Ges. Anthr.,' 1885, p. 377. 

* Cf. Pouchet, ' The Plurality of the Human Race,' p. 92 ; Virchow, in 
■* Verhandl 13crl. Ges. Anthr.,' 1885, p. 213. 

3 * Verhandl. Berl. Ges. Anthr.,' 1885, p. 475, note. 

* Squier, ' The States of Central America,' p. 56. 

* Godron, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 276. 


rosy complexion, the difference in colour between arterial and 
venous blood being strikingly diminished on account of the 
smaller absorption of oxygen, which results from the feebler 
process of combustion.^ According to Dr. Tylor, it is 
asserted that the pure negro in the United States has under- 
gone a change which has left him a shade lighter in complexion ;* 
whilst a long medical experience at New Orleans showed 
Dr. Visini^ that the blood of the American negro has lost the 
excess of plasticity which it possessed in Africa.* A negro boy 
brought to Germany by Gerhard Rohlfs, changed his colour 
after a residence of two years, from "deep black to light brown."* 
Klinkosch mentions the case of a negro who lost his black- 
ness and became yellow ; and Caldani declares that a negro, 
who was a shoemaker at Venice, was black when brought, 
during infancy, to that city, but became gradually lighter, and 
had the hue of a person suffering from a slight jaundice.* In the 
* Philosophical Transactions,' there is even a record of a negro 
who became as white as a European.® On the other hand, 
we are told of an English gentleman, Macnaughten by name, 
who long lived the life of a native in the jungle of Southern 
India, and acquired, even on the clothed portions of his body, a 
skin as brown as that of a Brahman.'' These statements, if true, 
certainly refer to exceedingly exceptional cases, but their 
accuracy cannot be d priori denied. We know that certain 
organisms are much better able than others to undergo the 
change which constitutes acclimatization, and we have no 
positive reason to doubt that this power may, in abnormal 
cases, be extraordinarily great. At any rate, it is beyond doubt 
that a close connection exists between the colour of the skin 
and the physiological functions of the body, on the one hand, 
and between these and the conditions of life on the other. 
Disease is commonly accompanied by a change of colour. 
Mr. Wallace observes that, in many islands of the Malay 
Archipelago, species of widely different genera of butterflies 

^ Mayer, * Die Mechanik der Warme,* p. 98. 

* Tylor, * Anthropology,' p. 86. ' de Quatrefages, he. cit. p. 255. 

* RoUfs, * Henry Noel von Bagermi/ in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. iii. 
p. 255. * Reade, loc, cit p. 526. 

® IHb,y p. 526. 7 Peschel, loc, cit p. 92. 


differ in precisely the same way as to colour or form from 
allied species in other islands.^ The same thing occurs to a 
less degree in other parts of the world also. And Agassiz has 
pointed out that, in Asia and Africa, the large apes and the 
human races have the same colour of the skin.* 

We may thus take for granted that racial peculiarities 
stand in some connection with the external circumstances in 
which the various races live. It may perhaps be objected 
that we meet with native tribes of various types on the same 
degree of latitude, and under the same climatic conditions.* 
But we must remember that it is often impossible to decidje 
whether the conditions of life are exactly the same ; that 
intermixture of blood has caused a great confusion of racial 
types ; and that all peoples have arrived at their present 
localities after more or less extensive migrations. We may 
be sure that some characters have been preserved from 
earlier times when the race lived in other circumstances, and 
that the higher its degree of civilization the less likely it 
would be to lose the stamp impressed upon it.* 

It is, however, exceedingly doubtful whether racial differ- 
ences are so directly the result of external influences as 
anthropologists generally believe, — that is, whether they are 
the inherited effects of conditions of life to which previous 
generations have been subject. Professor Weismann, as is 
well known, thinks that acquired characters are not trans- 
mitted from parent to offspring. ** It has never been proved,*' 
he says, " that acquired characters are transmitted, and it has 
never been demonstrated that, without the aid of such trans- 
mission, the evolution of the organic world becomes un- 
intelligible." * Man has from time immemorial mutilated 

1 Wallace, in * The Academy,' vol. ii. p. 182. 

2 Quoted by Schaaffhausen, in * The Anthropological Review,' vol. vi, 
p. 418. 

' Cf. Schaaffhausen, ' Darwinism and Anthropology,' ibid,^ vol. vi. pp. 
cviii., ei seq. 

^ M. Elis^e Reclus (quoted by de Quatrefages, loc, cit, p. 255) makes a 
curious mistake when he asserts that, at the end of a given time, whatever 
be their origin, all the descendants of whites or of negproes who have 
immigrated to America will become Red-skins. 

• Weismann, * Essays upon Heredity,' &c., p. 81. 


his body in various ways, and there is not a single well- 
founded case of these mutilations having been inherited by 
the offspring.^ The children of accomplished pianists do not 
inherit the art of playing the piano. Facts show that 
children of highly civilized nations have no trace of a language, 
when they have grown up in a wild condition and in complete 
isolation.* Change in colour influenced by sun and air 
is obviously temporary. The children of the husbandman, or 
of the sailor, are just as fair as those of the most delicate and 
pale inhabitant of a city ; and, although the Moors, who have 
lived in Africa since the seventh century, are generally in 
mature life very sunburnt, their children are as white as those 
bom in Europe, and " restent blancs toute leur vie, quand leurs 
travaux ne les exposent pas aux ardeurs du soleil." ^ 

Such facts are certainly not in favour of the prevalent 
theory that the differences of race are due to direct adapta- 
tion. Whether Professor Weismann's theory proves to be 
well founded or not, we manifestly cannot assume that the 
heredity of acquired characters suffices to explain the origin 
of the human races. It seems most probable that, at the very 
earliest stages of human evolution, mankind was restricted to a 
comparatively small area, and was then homogeneous, as every 
animal and vegetable species is under similar conditions. In 
the struggle for existence the intellectual faculties of man 
were developed, and before the breaking away of isolated 
groups he may have invented the art of making fire, and of 
fabricating the simplest implements and weapons. This 
mental superiority made it possible for man to disperse, en- 
abling him to exist even under conditions somewhat different 
from those to which he was originally adapted. His organism 
had to undergo certain changes, but we are not aware that these 
modifications were transmitted to descendants. All that we 
know is, that the children born were not exactly like each 
other, and that those who happened to vary most in accord- 
ance with the new conditions of life as a rule survived, and 
became the ancestors of following generations. The con- 

1 Weismann, loc. cit pp. 8i,&c. Godron, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 299. 
^ Rauber, * Homo sapiens ferus,' pp. 69-71. 
^ Poiret, 'Voyage en Barbaric,* vol. i. p. 31. 

"IT*, ^.^ .^ -s»f'**, ", J ""r/" " if' T 1 i- nr- T_'T — r. •~'' -. '"^r*^ r i 


genital characters which enabled them to survive were of 
course transmitted to their offspring, and thus, through natural 
selection,^ races would gradually arise, the members of each 
of which would have as hereditary dispositions the same 
peculiarities as those which, to a certain extent, may be 
acquired through acclimatization, but then only for the 
individual himself, not for his descendants. We can thus 
understand how the children of a negro are black ^--•-even if 
they are born in Europe * — as the black colour is the correla- 
tive of certain physiological processes favourable to existence 
in the country of their race. They survive, whilst the child- 
ren of Europeans who have emigrated to the tropics are carried 
off in great numbers, even though their parents have succeeded 
in undergoing the functional modifications which accompanied 
the change of abode. 

This explanation of racial differences seems the more 
acceptable, when we take into consideration the immense 
period which has elapsed since man began to spread over the 
earth, and the slow and gradual change of abodes. He was 
not at once moved from the tropics to the polar zones, or from 
the polar zones to the tropics, but had to undergo an indefi- 
nitely long chain of adaptive processes. Thus were gradually 
established such radical differences as those which distinguish 
a European from a negro, an Australian from a Red-skin. 

We have now found an answer to our question, why man, 
in the choice of mate, gives the preference to the best repre- 
sentatives of his race. The full development of racial charac- 
ters indicates health, a deviation from them indicates disease. 
Physical beauty is thus in every respect the outward manifes- 

* Mr. Wallace (' Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection,' 
Essay ix.), so far as I know, is the only investigator who has tried to 
explain, by the principle of natural selection, the origin of human racial 

* A negro child is not bom black, but becomes so after some shorter or 
longer time (Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 342. Cailli^, loc. 
^i. vol. i. p. 351). The children of dark races are usually fairer than the 
adults (Darwin, voL ii. p. 342. Moseley, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. vi. 
p- 385). ^ Camper, * Kleinere Schriften,' vol. i. p. 44. 



tation of physical perfection, or healthiness, and the develop- 
ment of the instinct which prefers beauty to ugliness is 
evidently within the power of natural selection. 

This explanation of the connection between love and beauty, 
as also of the origin of the races of men, is very different from 
that given by Mr. Darwin. " The men of each race," he says, 
" prefer what they are accustomed to ; they cannot endure any 
great change ; but they like variety, and admire each charac- 
teristic carried to a moderate extreme. . . . As the great 
anatomist Bichat long ago said, if every one were cast in the 
same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty. If all 
our women were to become as beautiful as the Venus de* 
Medici, we should for a time be charmed ; but we should soon 
wish for variety ; and as soon as we had obtained variety, we 
should wish to see certain characters a little exaggerated 
beyond the then existing common standard.''^ 

In the fashions of our own dress, says Mr. Darwin, we 
see exactly the same principle and the same desire to carry 
every point to an extreme.* Man prefers, to a certain extent, 
what he is accustomed to see. Thus the Maoris, who are 
in the habit of dyeing their lips blue, consider it " a reproach 
to a woman to have red lips ; "^ and we ourselves dislike, on the 
whole, any great deviation from the leading fashions. But, on 
the other hand, man wants variety. Now in one, now in 
another way, he changes his dress in order to attract attention, 
or to charm. The fashions of savages are certainly more 
permanent than ours ; * but the extreme diversity of ornaments 
with which many uncivilized peoples bedeck themselves, shows 
their emulation to make themselves attractive by means of new 
enticements. " Each of the Outanatas (New Guinea)," says 
Mr. Earl, " seemed desirous of ornamenting himself in some 
way different from his neighbour ; " ^ and, with regard to the 

^ Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' voL ii. pp. 384, et seq, 
* Jbid.y vol. ii. p. 383. ^ Angas, * Savage Life,' vol. i. p. 316. 

^ Speaking of the Rejangs of Sumatra, Mar^den says {loc, cit. p. 206), 
" The quick, and to them inexplicable, revolutions of our fashions are 
subject of much astonishment, and they nattirally conclude that those 
modes can have but little intrinsic merit which we are so ready to 
change.'* * Earl, loc, ciL p. 48. 

1- ^ • -^-t,-v ^^S^'^ . . - wr**'- : --rrT* '*t*=' 

iu Mi ' i 


Pacific Islanders, Mr. John Williams remarks that " the in- 
habitants of almost every group . . . have their peculiar ideas 
as to what constitutes an addition to beauty."^ But it is 
impossible to believe that the different races' ideals of personal 
beauty are in any way connected with this capriciousness of 
taste. Were this the case, as Mr. Darwin suggests, the men 
of each race would admire variations and piquant peculiari- 
ties in the appearance of their women, and not only each 
characteristic point " carried to a moderate extreme." 

According to Mr. Darwin, racial differences are due to the 
different standards of beauty, whereas, according to the theory 
here indicated, the different standards of beauty are due to 
racial differences. " Let us suppose," says Mr. Darwin, " the 
members of a tribe, practising some form of marriage, to 
spread over an unoccupied continent, they would soon split 
up into distinct hordes, separated from each other by various 
barriers, and still more effectually by the incessant wars 
between all barbarous nations. The hordes would thus be 
exposed to slightly different conditions and habits of life, and 
would sooner or later come to differ in some small degree. As 
soon as this occurred, each isolated tribe would form for itself a 
slightly different standard of beauty ; and then unconscious 
selection would come into action through the more powerful 
and leading men preferring certain women to others. Thus 
the differences between the tribes, at first very slight, would 
gradually and inevitably be more or less increased."'^ This 
theory — that racial differences are due to sexual selection — 
obviously presupposes either that the human organism is 
alike well fitted to any climate and natural conditions ; or 
that no correlation exists between the visible parts of the 
body and its functions. Otherwise, of course, little effect 
could be produced through the preference given to cer- 
tain individuals ; for in a savage state, where celibacy is 
an exception, those men and women whose constitution was 
best suited to the conditions of life would, in any case, in 
the end, determine the racial type. It is also difficult to see 
how those slight variations from the original human type, 

* Williams, ' Missionary Enterprises,' pp. 538, et seq, 

* Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. pp. 403, et seq, 

T 2 


which, according to Mr. Darwin, characterized the distinct 
hordes or tribes into which mankind was split up, could have 
developed into such enormous differences as we find in the 
colour of the skin of, for example, a negro and a European — 
only through the selection of the best representatives of these 
tribal peculiarities, these slight variations. Finally, it seems 
doubtful whether Mr. Darwin would have ascribed racial 
differences in colour to the influence of sexual selection, had 
he considered the important fact, already mentioned, that the 
larger apes have the same colour of the skin as the human 
races living in the same country. 

Mr. Darwin also thinks that the differences in external 
appearance between man and the lower animals are, to a 
certain extent, due to sexual selection. The chief character 
of the human race which he proposes to account for in this 
way is the general hairlessness of the body. " No one sup- 
poses," he says, '* that the nakedness of the skin is any direct 
advantage to man ; his body therefore cannot have been 
divested of hair through natural selection.''^ It is curious 
that the hairlessness of man has puzzled so many anthro- 
pologists,* as it may very easily be explained by the law of 
variation. When man had invented the art of making fire, 
and the idea of covering himself to secure protection from 
cold had occurred to his mind, hairlessness was no serious 
disadvantage in the struggle for existence. Hence natural 
selection ceased to operate in the matter, and a hairless race 
gradually arose. We find the same principle at work in 
various other ways. Civilized man does not need such keen 
vision as savages f consequently many of us are short-sighted, 

* Darwin, *The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 410. 

* Mr. Wallace, in his ' Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selec- 
tion' (p. 359), believes that '*a superior intelligence has guided the 
development of man in a definite direction,'' and considers (pp. 348, e/ 
seq.) that the hairless condition of the skin comes under this head. Agatin, 
Mr. Belt's experience in tropical countries has led him to the conclusion 
that, in such parts at least, there is one serious drawback to the advan- 
tage of having the skin covered with hair ; — " It affords cover for para- 
sitical insects, which, if the skin were naked, might more easily be g^t 
rid of" (Belt, loc. at. p. 209). 

' Collins, who wrote sixty years before ' The Origin of Species,' makes 


and few Europeans could match a Red Indian in his power 
of detecting the symptoms of a trail. For the same reason 
we are generally inferior to savages in the capacity for dis- 
criminating odours, and our teeth are apt to be very much 
less sound and vigorous than theirs. 

That sexual selection has had some influence on the physical 
aspect of mankind is probable. Accurate observers in 
different parts of the world have remarked that personal 
deformities are very rare in savage races unaffected by 
European influence.^ This chiefly depends upon the fact 
that deformed individuals seldom survive tbe hardships of 
early life, but, as Sir W. Lawrence says, if they do survive, 
they are prevented by the kind of aversion they inspire from 
propagating their deformities.^ It is not unlikely that the 
selection of the best representatives of the race contributes 
to keep the racial type pure. Sexual selection, too, may be 
the cause why, among savages, the men are so often hand- 
somer than the women — that is, better specimens of their sex 
and their race f whilst, in civilized society, the reverse is 
true. We have seen that savage women have great liberty of 
disposing of their own hand, and that, at lower stages of 
civilization, celibacy occurs almost exclusively among the 
men. Among us, on the contrary, the unmarried women out- 
number the unmarried men, and, whilst a man's ability to 
marry depends only to a small extent upon his personal 
appearance, the like may certainly not be said of women. 

the following observation regarding the natives about Botany Bay and 
Port Jackson (New South Wales) : — " Their sight is peculiarly fine, indeed 
their existence very often depends upon the accuracy of it ; for a short- 
sighted man . . . would never be able to defend himself from their spears, 
which are thrown with amazing force and velocity " (Collins, * Account of 
the English Colony in New South Wales,' vol. i. pp. 553, et seq,), 

* v. Humboldt, * Political Essay,' vol. i. pp. 152, et seq, Waitz, * Intro- 
duction to Anthropology,' pp. 113, et seq, Brough Smyth, loc, cit, vol. i. 
p. 30, note ; Salvado, ' M^moires,' pp. 274, et seq, ; Collins, vol. i. p. 553 
(Australians). Rengger, toe, cit, pp. 9, et seq, (Indians of Paraguay). 

* Lawrence, loc, cit, pp. 422, et seq, 

» Reade, loc, cit, pp. 545, 549. Johnston, loc, cit, p. 436. 



A POWERFUL instinct keeps animals from pairing with in- 
dividuals belonging to another species than their own. 
" L'animal," says M. Duvemoy, "a Tinstinct de se rapprocher 
de son esp^ce et de s'^loigner des autres, comme il a celui de 
choisir ses aliments et d'dviter les poisons."^ Among Birds, 
there are found a small number of wild hybrids, nearly all of 
which are in the order of Gallinae, and most of which belong 
to the genus Tetrao.* But among Insects, Fishes, and Mam- 
mals, living in a state of nature, hybridism is unknown or 
almost so.* And, even among domesticated mammals, 
some tricks are often required to deceive the male, and so to 
conquer its aversion to a female of a different species. The 
stallion, for instance, who is to cover a she-ass, is frequently 
first excited by the presence of a mare, for which, at the proper 
moment, the she-ass is substituted.* 

We may be sure that, were it not for this instinctive feeling, 
many more animal hybrids would be naturally produced than 
is the case. In the vegetable kingdom, where the play of 
instincts is altogether out of the question, bastards occur much 
more frequently f and in captivity a considerable number of 
animal hybrid forms are produced that are never met with in 

* Duvemoy, art. * Propagation,' in ' Dictionnaire universel dliistoire 
naturelle,' vol. x. p. 546. 

* Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, * Histoire naturelle g^n^rale,' vol. iii. p. 180. 
' Ibid.^ vol. iii. pp. 185, 175, et seq. de Quatrefages, loc. cit, p. 67. 

* Vogt, * Lectures on Man,' p. 414. 

* Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire, vol. iii. p. 191. 


a state of nature.^ Yet, according to Mr. Darwin, there are 
good grounds for the doctrine of Pallas, that the conditions to 
which domesticated animals and cultivated plants have been 
subjected, generally eliminate the tendency towards mutual 
sterility, so that the domesticated descendants of species 
which in their natural state would have been in some degree 
sterile, when crossed, become perfectly fertile.^ 

The origin of this instinct, which helps to keep even closely 
allied species in a state of nature distinct, seems to be suffi- 
ciently clear. The number of species which have proved 
fertile together are very limited, and the fertility of the 
hybrid offspring is almost constantly diminished, often even 
to a very great extent. Of course, no one now talks of the 
sterility of hybrids as a moral necessity — hybrids being 
animalia adulterina, — or as the result of a special divine 
decree, that new species should not be multiplied indefinitely.^ 
M. Isidore GeofTroy has shown not only that hybrids may be 
fertile, but that " infertile " hybrids are, properly speaking, 
merely the hybrids which are most rarely fertile, their sterility 
never being absolute.* Moreover, as has been pointed out by 
Mr. Wallace, in almost all the experiments that have hitherto 
been made in crossing distinct species, no care has been taken 
to avoid close interbreeding ; hence these experiments cannot 
be held to prove that hybrids are in all cases infertile inter seJ" 
But looking to all the ascertained facts on the intercross- 
ing of plants and animals, we may with Mr. Darwin conclude 
that some degree of sterility in hybrids is an extremely 
general result.^ This being the case with the hybrids of our 
domesticated animals, it must be so all the more with animals 
in a state of nature, which generally live under conditions 
less favourable to mutual fertility. It is easy to understand, 
then, that instincts leading to intercrossing of different 

* GeofTroy Saint- Hilaire, 'Histoire naturelle,' vol. ill. pp. 169-175. 

' Darwin, 'Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii. p. 189. 
^ Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, vol. iii. p. 208. Blumenbach, ' Anthropological 
Treatises,' p. 73. 

* Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, vol. iii, pp. 213, ^/ seq, 

* "Wallace, * Darwinism/ pp. 160, et seq, 

* Darwin, * The Origin of Species/ vol. ii. pp. 44, &c. Cf, Godron 
Joe. cit, vol. i, p. 209.. 


species, even if appearing occasionally, never could be long- 
lived, as only those animals which preferred pairing with in- 
dividuals of their own species, gave birth to an offspring 
endowed with a normal power of reproduction, and thus 
became the founders of numerous generations that inherited 
their instincts. 

The relative or absolute sterility characterizing first crosses 
and hybrids depends upon a biological law which might be 
called the " Law of Similarity." The degree of sterility, in 
either case,^ runs, at least to a certain extent, parallel with 
the general affinity of the forms that are united. Thus, most 
animal hybrids are produced by individuals belonging to the 
same genus, whilst species belonging to distinct genera can 
rarely, and those belonging to distinct families perhaps never, 
be crossed.^ The parallelism, however, is not complete, for 
a multitude of closely allied species will not unite, or unite 
only with great difficulty, though other species, widely differ- 
ent from each other, can be crossed with facility. Hence Mr. 
Darwin infers that the difficulty or facility in crossing " ap- 
parently depends exclusively on the sexual constitution of 
the species which are crossed, or on their sexual elective 
affinity, />., the * Wahlverwandtschaft ' of Gartner." But as 
species rarely, or never, become modified in one character, 
without being at the same time modified in many, and as 
systematic affinity includes all visible resemblances and dis- 
similarities, any difference in sexual constitution between two 
species would naturally stand in more or less close relation 
with their systematic position.* 

With regard to the instinct in question, man follows the 
general rule in the animal kingdom. Our notions of morality 
are closely connected with the instinctive feelings engraved in 
our nature ; and bestiality is commonly looked upon as one of 
the most heinous crimes of which man can make himself 

^ The greater or less degree of sterility of hybrids, although, as Mr. 
Darwin remarks (' The Origin of Species,' vol. ii. p. 46), a very different 
case from the difficulty of uniting two pure species, yet, to a certain extent, 
runs parallel with it. 

* Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire, ' Histoire naturelle/ voL iii. pp. 168, 169, &c. 

' Darwin, 'Animals and Plants under Domestication/ vol. ii. p. 180. 


guilty. Several passages both in ancient ^ and modern writers* 
prove the occasional occurrence of this crime, but always 
under circumstances analogous t5 those under which single 
birds sometimes form connections against nature,* t,e,^ 
either because of isolation, or on Account of vitiated in- 

Supporters of the hypothesis that the several races of man 
are distinct species of the genus Homo, assert that an in- 
stinctive aversion similar to that which keeps different animal 
species from intermingling, exists also between the various 
human races.^ It may be noted by the way that, even if this 
were true, the idea that mankind consist of various species 
might be controverted ; for certain races of domestic or semi- 
domesticated animals seem to prefer breeding with their own 
kind and refuse to mingle with others. Thus Mr. Bennett 
states that the dark and pale coloured herds of fallow deer, 
which have long been kept together in the Forest of Dean 
and two other places, have never been known to mingle. On 
one of the Faroe Islands, the half-wild native black sheep 
are said not to have readily mixed with the imported white 
sheep. And in Circassia, where six sub-races of the horse 
are known and have received distinct names, horses of three 
of these races, whilst living a free life, almost always refuse 
to mingle and cross, and will even attack each other.^ As 
for man, there are many races who dislike marrying persons 
of another race, but the motives are various. The different 
ideas of beauty no doubt play an important part. Mr. Win- 

' Exodus,' ch. xxii. v. 19. * Leviticus,' ch. xviii. v. 23 ; ch. xx. v. 15. 
'Deuteronomy,' ch. xxvii. v. 21. Pliny, loc, cit book viii. ch. 42. Virgil, 
' Bucolica,' Ecloga iii. v. 8. 

* Janke, ioc, cit. p. 276. Mackenzie, * Voyages,* p. xcvii. v. Kraft- 
Ebing, ' Psychopathia sexualis,' pp. 135, ^/ seq. 

^ See Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. pp. 125, 126, 128. 

* Cf, Blumenbach, loc^ cit pp. 80, et seq, ; Steller, ioc, cit. p. 289, note. 

* P^rier, * Essai sur les croisements ethniques,' in * Mdmoires Soc. 
d'Anthr.,' vol. i. p. 216, Jacquinot, in Dumont d'Urville, * Voyage au Pole 
Sud,' Zoologie, vol. ii. p. 92. 

^ Darwin, ' Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii« pp. 102, 
et seq. 


wood Reade does not think it probable that negroes would 
prefer even the most beautiful European woman, on the mere 
grounds of physical admiration, to a good-looking negress.^ 
A civilized race does not readily intermingle with one less 
advanced in civilization, from the same motives as those 
which prevent a lord from marrying a peasant girl. And 
more than anything else, I think, the enmity, or, at least, want 
of sympathy, due to difference of interests, ideas, and habits, 
which so often exists between distinct peoples or tribes, helps 
to keep races separate. But such reasons as these have nothing 
in common with the instinctive feeling which deters animals of 
distinct species from pairing with each other. Hence, when 
two races come into very close mutual contact, especially if 
they are at about the same stage of civilization, their dislike 
to intermarriage commonly disappears. 

Mongrels form, indeed, a large proportion of the inhabitants 
of the world. It is doubtful whether there are any pure races 
in Europe; not even the Basques can pretend to purity of 
blood.* M. Broca found, when investigating the subject of 
stature, that nineteen-twentieths of the whole population 
of France presented, in various degrees, the characters of 
mixed races.® In North America, different races inter- 
mingle more and more every day. In Greenland, according 
to Dr. Nansen, in the course of a century and a half, there has 
been such an intermixture of races that it would now be ex- 
tremely difficult, if not impossible, to find a true Eskimo 
throughout the whole of the west coast ; and the Europeans, 
far from being disliked by the native women, have succeeded 
in inspiring them with so much respect that ** the simplest 
European sailor is preferred to the best Eskimo seal-catcher.*'* 
In Mexico, the Spanish mixed breeds constitute two-thirds or 
three-fourths of the whole population f and South America, to 
quote a French writer, is " le grand laboratoire des nations 
hy brides ou mdtisses modernes."^ Of twelve millions of 
mongrels, which is the estimated number of mongrels on the 

^ Darwin, * The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 381. 

* de Quatrefages, loc. cit, p. 273. ^ Topinard, 'Anthropology,' p. 371. 

* Nansen, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 328. ^ Topinard, p. 372. 
^ Purler, in * Mdm. Soc. d'Anthr.,' vol. ii. p. 34a 


 !■ - I II H I - I - 

face of the globe, no fewer than eleven millions are found there.^ 
Even in remote Tierra del Fuego, according to Mr. Bridges, 
some mongrels of European fathers and indigenous mothers 
have appeared during the last few years. 

In Asia there are numberless instances of intermixture of 
breed between the Tartars, Mongols, and Tunguses, and the 
Russians and Chinese, &c.^ In India there are many 
Eurasians ; in the Indian Archipelago Chinese and Malays 
intermarry ;* and, in the islands of the South Sea, the mongrels 
of European fathers amount to a considerable number. In 
Africa, the eastern Soudan is a great centre of mixed breeds 
between races much removed from one another. And, in 
Southern Africa, the Griquas — the offspring of Dutch colonists 
and Hottentot women — form a very distinct race. 

As far as we know, there are no human races who, when 
intermingled, are entirely sterile. But as regards the degree 
of fertility of first crosses and of mongrels, the opinions of 
different anthropologists vary considerably. Those who do 
not believe in the unity of the human race have been es- 
pecially solicitous to prove that crosses are almost inevitably 
followed by bad results in that respect. Thus Dr. Knox 
thinks that the half-breeds, if they were abandoned to them- 
selves and no longer had access to pure races, would rapidly 
disappear, the " hybrid " being rejected by nature as a degra- 
dation of humanity.* Dr. Nott asserts that, when two proxi- 
mate species of mankind, two races bearing a general 
resemblance to each other in type, are bred together, they 
produce offspring perfectly prolific ; but that, when species 
the most widely separated, such as the Anglo-Saxon and the 
negro, are crossed, the mulatto offspring are but partially pro- 
lific, and acquire an inherent tendency to run out, and become 
eventually extinct, when kept apart from the parent stocks.^ 
The same opinion is entertained by M. Broca, and by M. 
Pouchet, who thinks that the crossed race will exist only if it 

^ Topinard, loc, cit p. 383. 

2 Prichard, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 149. 

* Godron, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 360, note 2. 

* Knox, * The Races of Men,' pp. 497, &c. 

* Nott and Gliddon, loc, cit, pp. 397, et seq. 


continues to be supported by the two creating types remain- 
ing in the midst of it.* 

On the other hand, Dr. Prichard believes it may be 
asserted, without the least chance of valid contradiction, that 
mankind, of all races and varieties, are equally capable of 
having offspring by intermarriage, and that such connections 
are equally prolific whether contracted between individuals of 
the same variety or of the most dissimilar varieties. " If 
there is any difference," he says, " it is probably in favour of 
the latter."* According to M. Godron, the mongrels have 
generally shown a higher degfree of fertility than their i>arent 
races f and M. de Quatrefages asserts that mulattoes are as 
fruitful as pure breeds.* 

It is to be regretted that so little attention has for some 
time been paid to this most important question. The result 
is that the effects of the intermixture of races are not much 
better known now than they were twenty or thirty years ago. 
The only thing which may be considered certain is, that the 
hypothesis of the depressing influence of crossing upon 
fertility, as the theory has generally been propounded, involves 
a great deal of exaggeration. It is chiefly owing to M. 
Broca*s celebrated essay, * Sur Thybriditd,' that this doctrine 
has been so widely accepted. He asserts that the connec- 
tions of Europeans with Australian women have proved very 
slightly prolific, and that the mongrels resulting from them 
are almost sterile. " No statistical writer," he says, " nor any 
historian, enumerates cross-breeds among the Australian 
population."^ Yet, this land has for a considerable time been 
inhabited by European colonists, many of whom have not 
had opportunities of marrying wives of their own race. It 
has also been shown that the cohabitation of whites and 
native women is very common in Australia. But the number 
of mongrels there is, nevertheless, exceedingly small, so 
small that in the native dialects there does not exist a single 
word to designate them.* 

^ Broca, *The Phenomena of Hybridity,* p. 60. Pouchet, loc, dt. 
p. loi. * Prichard, * The Natural History of Man/ pw 18, 

3 Godron, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 363. * de Quatrefages, loc, cit. p. 264. 
» Broca, p. 48. ® Ibid,^ p. 48. 


Supposing that these remarkable statements referred chiefly 
to the eastern and southern parts of the Australian continent, I 
asked Bishop R. Salvado and the Rev. Joseph Johnston, living 
in West Australia, to inform me whether, in that country, any 
mixed race exists, and, if so, whether it is fruitful or not From 
the former, who has lived among the West Australian aborigines 
for more than forty years, and through an excellent work on 
their life and customs has gained the reputation of a first- 
rate authority, I had the pleasure of receiving the following 
answer, dated New Norcia, October 17, 1888 : — ** With regard 
to the sterility of the half-caste natives, of which I had no 
experience when I wrote my book, I am able now to deny it 
altogether, except in cases similar to those among the 
Europeans. I know several cases of husband and wife, half- 
caste natives, having at present six and seven and even eight 
children, and they may in time have more ; and I know a 
good many Europeans who, having married native women, 
have several children. In fact, in the case of one of those 
marriages there were six children, and in another seven, and 
I could give the name of each of them." The Rev. J. John- 
ston writes, " There is a school for half-caste boys and girls at 
Perth, and they seem bright and intelligent children, not 
unlike Polynesian children. As they grow up, they go out to 
service, and some of the youths are employed as post and 
telegraph messengers. ... At the New Norcia mission, there 
are several half-caste families, as well as blacks, and they all 
have children." The following statement of Mr. TapHn re- 
ferring to the aborigines of the Lower Murray, goes in the 
same direction : — " The pure blacks," he says, " are not so 
healthy as the half-castes. Always the children of two half- 
castes will be healthier and stronger than either the children 
of blacks or the children of a black and a half-caste. When 
a half-caste man and woman marry, they generally have a large 
and vigorous family. I could point to half a dozen such."^ 

These statements of highly competent persons are, I think, 
quite sufficient to disprove M. Broca's hypothesis. They 

* Curr, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 264. Cf, Topinard, 'Note sur les m6tis 
d'Australiens et d'Europ^ens,' in 'Revue d'Anthropologie,' vol. iv. pp. 


show that, if a mixed race is almost wanting in certain parts 
of Australia, this does not depend upon physiological con- 
ditions of the kind suggested. It should be remembered that 
the sexual intercourse of Europeans with savage women is 
most commonly transitory and accidental, and frequently 
takes place with prostitutes or licentious women, who are 
generally known to be sterile. And, even when the white 
settler takes a native's daughter to live with him under his 
own roof as a wife or a concubine, and accustoms her to a 
half-civilized manner of living, her unfruitfulness ^ may be 
owing to quite another cause than the mixture of blood. 
Mr. Darwin has shown that changed conditions of life have 
an especial power of acting injuriously on the reproductive 
system. Thus animals, as also plants, when removed from 
their natural conditions, are often rendered in some degree 
infertile or completely barren, even when the conditions have 
not been greatly changed. And this failure of animals to 
breed under confinement cannot, at least to any considerable 
extent, depend upon a failure in their sexual instincts. 
" Numerous cases," says Mr. Darwin, " have been given of 
various animals which couple freely under confinement, but 
never conceive ; or, if they conceive and produce young, these 
are fewer in number than is natural to the species."^ It is 
reasonable to suppose that savage man, when he moves into 
more civilized conditions, is subject to the same law. Indeed> 
statements have been reported to me, which tend to show that 
the indigenous women at the Polynesian missionary stations 
have become less fruitful than they were in their native state. 
As to the alleged sterility of crosses between the European 
and Australian races, it should be observed that the rarity of 
mongrels in certain parts of Australia is more or less owing to 
the natives themselves habitually destroying the half-castes.* 

* Dr. T. R. H. Thomson says (* On the Reported Incompetency of 
the "Gins,"' in *Jour. Ethn, Soc. London/ vol. iii. pp. 244, et seqSi 
that the Australian woman, when she places herself under the roof of a 
European settler as his concubine or wife, appears to become less fertile^ 
although she has more regular diet, comfort, and covering. 

' Darwin, 'Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii. pp. 14S-160. 

3 Peschel, loc, cit. p. 9. Eyre, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 324. Lumholtz, loc^ 
cit, p. 273. 


The Rev. A. Meyer states that, in the Encounter Bay tribe, 
"nearly all the children of European fathers used to be put to 
death ; "^ whilst, among the Narrinyeri, about one-half of the 
half-caste infants fell victims to the jealousy of their mothers' 
husbands.^ But with regard to the West Australian aborigines 
in the neighbourhood of Fremantle, the Rev. J. Johnston 
writes that he does not think it has been the custom there to 
destroy the half-caste illegitimate offspring of black women, 
as he never heard of such a thing, — a fact which may account 
for the comparatively large number of mongrels in that part 
of the continent. 

Other statements also, adduced as evidence for the hypothesis 
of M, Broca, have proved more or less untrustworthy. Thus 
the alleged sterility of the mulattoes of Jamaica^ has been 
disputed by other writers.* So also v. Gortz's statement 
that the children of the Dutch and Malay women in Java 
(Lipplapps) are only productive to the third generation, ^ has 
been called in question.® 

Yet, although we may consider it certain that the diversities 
even between the races which least resemble each other are 
not so great but that, under favourable conditions, a mixed 
race may easily be produced, I do not deny the possibility of 
crossing being, to a certain extent, unfavourable to fertility. 
The statements as to the rapid increase of some mixed races 
do not prove the reverse. For the bad result of crossing 
would not necessarily appear at once ; and a drop of pure 
blood would be sufficient to increase fertility, just as, when a 
hybrid is crossed with either pure parent species, sterility is 
usually much lessened. ^ It is a remarkable fact that mixed 
marriages between Jews and persons of other races are compara- 
tively infertile. In Prussia, these marriages have been separately 
registered since 1875, and between that year and 1881 there 

1 Meyer, loc. cit. p. 186. " * Taplin, loc, cit p. 14. 

^ Broca, loc, cit. p. 36. ^ Peschel, loc, cit p. 8. 

* V. G6rt2, ' Reise um die Welt,' vol. iii. p. 288. 

* Hensen, ' Die Physiologic der Zeugung,' in Hermann, * Handbuch 
der Physiologie/ vol. vi. pt. ii. p. 191. 

7 Darwin, 'Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii. pp. 182, 
tt seq. 


was an average of 1*65 to a marriage, whereas, during the 
same period, pure Jewish marriages resulted in an average of 
4*41 children, orvery nearly three times as many. In Bavaria, 
between 1876 and 1880, the numbers were only i*i per mar- 
riage against 47 children to purely Jewish marriages. And 
this conspicuous infertility implies greater sterility. Among 
fifty-six such marriages, with regard to which Mr. Jacobs 
ascertained the results, no fewer than nine were sterile, i^., 18 
per cent., — a striking contrast to the number of sterile mar- 
riages which he found in seventy-one marriages between Jewish 
cousins, where the percentage of sterility was only 5*4 per 
cent.^ Mr. Jacobs, however, informs me that it has been 
suggested that this infertility may be due rather to the higher 
age at which such marriages are likely to take place. There 
is still a strong feeling against them among Jews, which is 
only likely to be overcome after independence of thought and 
position has been reached. At the same time Mr. Jacobs 
does not consider this sufficient to account for the very great 
discrepancy. But we must not, of course, take for granted 
that the crossing of any two races has the same effects as the 
crossing of Jewish and non-Jewish Europeans seems to have. 
Even if it could be proved, however, that mixture of races 
produces lessened fertility of first crosses and of mongrels, 
this would not make it necessary for us to reject the doctrine 
•of the unity of mankind. It is true that the domesticated 
varieties both of animals and of plants, when crossed, are as 
a general rule prolific, in some cases even more so than the 
purely bred parent varieties ; whereas species, when crossed,and 
their hybrid offspring, are almost invariably in some degree 
sterile. But this rule is not altogether without exceptions. 
Even Agassiz condemned the employment of fertility of union 
as a limiting principle. He considered this a fallacy, " or at 
least a petitio prindpii^ not admissible in a philosophical dis- 
cussion of what truly constitutes the characteristics of species."* 
Thus the red and yellow varieties of maize are in some degree 
infertile when crossed, and the blue- and the red-flowered 

* Jacobs, *0n the Racial Characteristics of Modem Jews,' in *Jour, 
Anthr. Inst.,* vol. xv. pp. 26-28. 
^ Agassiz, ^ Essay on Classification,' pp. 249-252. 


forms of the pimpernel, considered by most botanists to be 
the same species, as they present no differences of form or 
structure, are, according to Gartner, mutually sterile. More- 
over, Mr. Darwin's investigations on dimorphic and trimorphic 
plants have shown that the physiological test of lessened 
fertility, both in first crosses and in hybrids, is no safe 
criterion of specific distinction.^ As for animals, Professor 
Vogt asserts that, in the opinion of experienced breeders, 
certain races can with difficulty be made to pair, and the fertility 
of the mongrels soon diminishes, whilst other races pair 
readily and are prolific.^ Sir J. Sebright says, " Although I 
believe the occasional intermixture of different families to be 
necessary, I do not, by any means, approve of mixing two 
distinct breeds, with the view of uniting the valuable properties 
of both : this experiment has been frequently tried by others 
as well as by myself, but has, I believe, never succeeded. 
The first cross frequently produces a tolerable animal, but it 
is a breed that cannot be continued." * 

^ Darwin, ' Animals and Plants under Domestication/ vol. ii. pp. 105, 
190, 181, ^/ seq. 
* Vogt, he. cit p. 421. ' Sebright, loc. cit pp. 17, et seq. 




The horror of incest is an almost universal characteristic 
of mankind, the cases which seem to indicate a perfect absence 
of this feeling being so exceedingly rare that they must be 
regarded merely as anomalous aberrations from a general 

Yet the degrees of kinship within which intercourse is 
forbidden, are by no means everywhere the same. It is most, 
and almost universally, abominated between parents and 
children, especially mother and son. As an exception to this 
rule, V. Langsdorf states that, among the Kaniagmuts, not 
only do brothers and sisters cohabit with each other, but even 
parents and children.^ The Eastern Tinneh, or Chippewyas, 
occasionally marry their mothers, sisters, or daughters, but 
such alliances are not considered correct by general opinion.- 
In the Indian Archipelago, according to Schwaner, Wilken, 
and Riedel, marriages between brothers and sisters, and 
parents and children, are permitted among certain tribes f 

* V. Langsdorf, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 64. 

- Ross, in * Smithsonian Report,' 1866, p. 310. 

3 Wilken, * Verwantschap,' &c., p. 22. Identy in * Bijdragen,* &c., scr. v. 
vol. i. p. 151. Riedel, quoted by Post, ' Entwickelungsgeschichte des 
Familienrechts,' p. 221. Garcilasso de la Vega, describing the Indians 
of Peru before the time of the Incas, says {Joe, cit, vol. i. pp. 58, et seq.), 
' In many nations they cohabited like beasts, without any special wife, but 
just as chance directed. Others followed their own desires, without ex- 
cepting sisters, daughters, or mothers. Others excepted their mothers, 
but none else.' It is said, according to Dr. Hickson {/oc. ciL pp. 277, 

^ ^ - -' «'M«aM.^> 


and similar unions, it is said, took place among the ancient 
Persians.^ Again, in Nukahiva, as we are told by Lisiansky, 
although near kinsfolk are forbidden to intermarry, it some- 
times happens that a father lives with his daughter, and a 
brother with his sister ; but on one occasion it was looked 
upon as a horrible crime when a mother cohabited with her 
son.* Among the Kukis, as described by Rennel, marriages 
were generally contracted without regard to blood-relation- 
ship ; only a mother might not wed her child.^ Among the 
Karens of Tenasserim, " matrimonial alliances between brother 
and sister, or father and daughter, are not uncommon."* 
Speaking of the king of the Warua, Mr. Cameron states 
that in his harem are to be found his stepmothers, aunts, 
sisters, nieces, cousins, as also his own daughters.* Among 
the Wanyoro, brothers may marry their sisters, and even 
fathers their daughters ; but a son does not marry his own 
mother, although the other widows of his father become his 

Unions between brothers and sisters, who are children ot 
the same mother as well as the same father, are likewise held 
in general abhorrence. The primitive feeling against such 
connections is strongly expressed in the Finnish Kullervo 
Myth. The unfortunate Kullervo, after discovering that he 
had committed incest with his sister, wails — 

" Woe is me, my life hard-fated ! 
I have slain my virgin-sister, 
Shamed the daughter of my mother ; 
Woe to thee,- my ancient father ! 

etseq.)y that in olden times, in the southern districts of Minahassa, in the 
neighbourhood of Tonsawang, father and daughter, mother and son^ 
brother and sister, frequently lived together in bonds of matrimony. As 
regards the Chippewas, Mr. Keating states {loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 170) that 
'incest is not unknown to them, but it is held in great abhorrence/ 

* Hubschmann, * Ueber die persische Verwandtenheirath,' in 'Zeitschr. 
d. Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellsch.,' vol. xliii. p. 308. 

* Lisiansky, loc, cit. p. 83. ' Lewin, loc, cit, p. 276. 

* Heifer, * The Animal Productions of the Tenasserim Provinces,' in 
* Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. vii. p. 856. 

* Cameron, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 70. 

fi Wilson and Felkin, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 49. 

U 2 


Woe to thee, my gray-haired mother ! 
Wherefore was I bom and nurtured. 
Why this hapless child's existence ? 
Better fate to Kullerwoinen, 
Had he never seen the daylight, 
Or, if bom, had never thriven 
In these moumful days of evil ! " * 

The dishonoured sister threw herself into the river, and 
Kullervo fell by his own sword. 

The Californian Nishinam believe that, for the prevention of 
incest, at the beginning of the world, not one but two pairs 
were created from whom sprang all the Nishinam.* When 
the missionary Jellinghaus once asked some Munda Kols 
whether animals know what is right and wrong, the answer was, 
** No, because they do not know mother, sister, and daughter."^ 
Yet, as we have seen, there are exceptions to the rule ; and 
certain peoples who consider intercourse between parents and 
children incestuous, allow unions between brothers and sisters. 
Among the Kamchadales, says Krasheninnikoff, "marriage is 
forbidden only between father and daughter, mother and son ; 
. . . and first cousins marry frequently."* Not long ago, the 
wild Veddahs of Ceylon regarded the marriage of a man with 
his younger sister as not only proper and natural, but, in fact, 
as the proper marriage, though marriage with an elder sister 
or aunt would have been as incestuous and revolting to them 
as to us.*^ Among the Annamese, according to a missionary 
who has lived among them for forty years, no girl who is 
twelve years old and has a brother is a virgin.* Liebich tells 
us that the Gypsies allow a brother to marry his sister, though 
such marriages are generally avoided by them.^ Among the 
aborigines of Brazil, union with a sister, or a brother's 
daughter, is almost universally held to be infamous. Such 
practices are not uncommon in small isolated hordes ; ** but 

1 ' The Kalevala ' (translated by Crawford), vol. ii. p. 548. 

* Powers, loc, cit. p. 340. 

* Jellinghaus, in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. iii. p. 367. 

* Krasheninnikoff, 'The History of Kamtschatka,' p. 215. Steller, ioc 
£it. p. 347. 

^ Bailey, in ' Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N.S. vol. ii. pp. 294, et seq, 

® Janke, loc. cit, p. 276. ^ Liebich, loc, cit. p. 49. 

.. >»-^-**-fc. i« 111 -'.^-m^m..^. —n «> Ji^pa'^lrri>^b< 


the ancient Tupinambases (ancestors of the Tupis) allowed 
nothing of the kind openly."^ In a song of the * Rig- Veda/ 
Yamf appears in support of the marriage of brother and 
sister, while the opposition is personified in Yama.* Buddhist 
legends mention various cases of such unions ;* and it is 
stated in the ' Ynglinga Saga ' that " while Niord was with the 
Vans he had taken his own sister in marriage, for that he was 
allowed by their law."* But we have no evidence whatever 
that such unions were commonly allowed by the ancient 
Scandinavians. "Among the Asas," the * Ynglinga Saga' 
adds, "it was forbidden for such near relatives to come 
together."^ In Scandinavia, according to Nordstrom, as also 
among the ancient Germans, according to Grimm, marriages 
between parents and children, brothers and sisters, were 

Unions with sisters, or probably, in most cases, half-sisters, 
occur in the royal families of Baghirmi,^ Siam,^ Burma,® 
Ceylon,^^ and Polynesia." In the Sandwich Islands, brothers 
and sisters of the reigning family intermarried, but this 
incestuous intercourse was in other cases contrary to the 
customs, habits, and feelings of the people.^^ And, in Ibofna 
of Madagascar, where the kings were occasionally united 
with their sisters, such marriages were preceded by a 
ceremony in which the woman was sprinkled with con- 
secrated water, and prayers were recited asking for her 
happiness and fecundity, as if there was a fear that the union 
might call down divine anger upon the parties. ^^ Cambyses 

* V. Martius, in * Jour. Roy. Geo. Soc.,* vol. ii. p. 198. /^w, * Beitrage 
2ur Ethnographic,' &c., voL i. pp. 115, ^/ seq, 

* * Rig- Veda Sanhitd,' mandala x. sukta 10. 
^ Schrader, loc. cit. p. 392, note. 

^ * Ynglinga Saga,' ch. iv. ; in * Heimskringla ' (edited by Unger), p. 6. 

* Ilnd,^ p. 6. 

* Nordstrdm, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 18. Grimm, loc. cit, p. 435. 

7 Bastian, ' Rechtsverhaltnisse,' p. 173. ^ Moore, loc. cit. p. 169. 

^ Colquhoun, ' Amongst the Shans,' p. 292. 
^° Emerson Tennent, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 459. 
1^ Waitz-Geriand, loc. cit. vol. vi. p. 131. 

12 Ellis, ' Hawaii,' pp. 414, et seq. Wilkes, loc. cit, vol. iv. p. 32. 
" Sibree, loc. cit. p. 252. 


and other Persian kings married their sisters,^ and so did the 
Ptolemies of Egypt.^ According to Sir Gardner Wilkinson, 
it is not only noticed by Diodorus, but is fully authenticated 
by the inscriptions both of Upper and Lower Egypt, that the 
same custom was in force among the Egyptians from the 
earliest times f but, except in the case of the Ptolemies, I 
have seen no clear evidence that marriage took place 
between brothers and sisters who had both the same father 
and the same mother. Garcilasso de la Vega states that 
the Incas of Peru, from the first, established it as a very 
stringent law that the heir to the kingdom should marry his 
eldest sister, legitimate both on the side of the father and on 
that of the mother;* whereas, according to Acosta and 
Ondegardo, it had always been held unlawful by the Peruvians 
to contract marriage in the first degree, until Tupac Inca 
Yupanqui, at the close of the fifteenth century, married his 
sister on the father's side, and decreed "that the Incas 
might marry with their sisters by the father's side, and no 

It has been asserted that, where the system of exogamy 
prevails, a man is allowed to marry his sister either on the 
father's or on the mother's side, according as descent is 
reckoned in the female or in the male line.® But it will 
be shown directly that, besides the rules relating to exogamy, 
there are commonly others prohibiting intermarriage of 
near relations belonging to different tribes or clans. Yet 
the marriage of half-brother and half-sister is not rare. 
Among the Ostyaks, for instance, union with a halfrsister 
bearing another family name is in great repute ; ^ and the 
South Slavonian Mohammedans allow marriages between 
half-brothers and half-sisters who have different mothers, 

^ Herodotus, loc, cit book iii. ch. 31. Spiegel, loc. cit, vol. iii. pp. 678, 
et seq. 2 Wilkinson, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 319. 

3 Ibid,y vol. i. pp. 318, ^/ seq. 

* Garcilasso de la Vega, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 308. 

^ Acosta, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 425. Prescott, ' History of the Conquest of 
Peru,* p. 9, note ^ 

^ McLennan, ' Studies,' &c., p. 160. Wilken, ^ Huwelijken tusschen 
bloedverwanten,' p. 3'- 

7 V. Haxthausen, ' Transkaukasia,' p. 406, note. 


though seducing a sister is regarded in their songs as a 
crime punishable with death, or rather as something which 
cannot occur.^ From the Book of Geiiesis we know that 
Abraham married his half-sister, and looked upon the union 
as lawful, because she had not the same mother.* Among 
the Phoenicians at Tyre, down to the time of Achilles 
Tatius, a man might marry his father's daughter ; and the 
same thing appears at Mecca.^ Marriage with half-sisters 
on the father's side, not on the mother's, was also allowed 
among the Assyrians* and the Athenians.^ In Guatemala 
and Yucatan, on the other hand, no relationship on the 
mother's side was a bar to marriage ; hence a man could 
marry his sister, provided she was by another father.® 

Among certain peoples the relationships of uncle and niece, 
and of aunt and nephew, are the remotest degrees of con- 
sanguinity which are a hindrance to intermarriage. This is 
the case, for instance, with some of the Dyak tribes f and 
among the Copper Indians, according to Franklin, there is 
no prohibition of the intermarriage of cousins, but a man is 
forbidden to marry his niece.® On the whole, we may say 
that marriage within these degrees of relationship is even 
more commonly prohibited than intermarriage of cousins, 
and that, probably in most cases, the prohibitions refer to 
persons so related either on the father's or mother's side.^ 

^ Krauss, loc. cit, pp. 221, ^/ seq, ^ * Genesis,' ch. xx. v. 12. 

* Robertson Smith, loc, cit, p. 163. , 

* Michaelis, 'Abhandlung von den Ehegesetzen Mosis,' p. 128. 

* Becker, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 448. In Homer, the marriage of brother 
and sister, strictly speaking, is to be found only in myth (Schrader, ioc. 
cit p. 392, note). 

^ Bancroft, Ioc, cit. vol. ii. pp. 664, et seq, 

7 Wilken, in * Bijdragen,' &c., ser. v. vol. i. p. 147. Ideniy * Verwant- 
schap,' &c., p. 22. 

* Franklin, 'Journey,' p. 289. Cf, v. Martius, /it?^. «V. vol. i. pp. 116, 
393 (certain Brazilian tribes). 

^ The Rev. B. Danks mentions (* Marriage Customs of the New Britain 
Group,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. p. 283) that in the New Britain 
Group, where upon theoretical grounds a man may without law-breaking 
marry his niece, as belonging to another clan, there is, nevertheless, a 
great repugnance to such unions among the natives, and in one case 
where such a union was brought about, the natives utterly condemned it. 


Yet there are many instances to the contrary.^ The Ossetes 
consider a marriage with a mother's sister quite a proper 
thing, though a marriage with a father's sister would be 
punished as highly incestuous.^ Among the Reddies of the 
South of India, a man marries his sister's daughter, but a 
nephew must not marry his aunt f and, among the Brazilian 
Tupis, an uncle had even a right to his niece's hand.* By the 
Prussian law, marriage between uncle and niece is permitted ; 
whilst, in France, such marriages may be sanctioned by the 
Government, in Italy by the King.* 

In Europe, first cousins are not restricted from inter- 
marriage, except in Spain, where the old canonical prohibi- 
tions are still in force ; and in Russia, where third cousins 
are allowed to marry, but no parties more nearly related.* 
Among the Mohammedans ^ and several uncivilized peoples, 
marriages between cousins, both on the paternal and maternal 
side, are permitted. So, apparently, among the Aleuts,® 
Eskimo at Igloolik.* Apalachites,^® Maoris, Bushmans," and 
Ainos,^* — besides the peoples just referred to. More com- 
monly, however, the permission is one-sided, referring either 
to the kinsfolk on the father's, or to those on the mother's 
side. Among the Arabs, a man has even a right to the hand 
of his paternal cousin, who cannot without his consent 
become the wife of any other person.^' Concerning the 
Moors of Ceylon, Mr. Ahamadu Bawa states that in all cases 
where eligible sons of mothers' brothers or fathers' sisters 
were available for the girls, preference was accorded to them, 
** almost as a matter of right."^* Among the savage Miao of 

^ Tartars (Gastrin, ioc. ciL voL ii. p. 298), Somals (Burton, 'First 
Footsteps in East Africa,' p._ 120), Negroes of Bondo (* Das Ausland,' 
1 88 1, p. 1027). 

' V. Haxthausen, ' Transkaukasia,' p. 406. 

' Balfour, loc» cit, vol. ii. p. 880. * Waitz, loc, cit vol. iii. p. 422. 

* Huth, * The Marriage of Near Kin,' pp. 137, 123. 

* Ilnd.y pp. 123, 139. 7 « The KorAn,' sura iv. v. 27. 
® Dall, loc. cit p. 399. Petroff, loc, cit. p. 158. 

® Lyon, loc, cit p. 353. *® Heriot, loc, cit, p. 325. 

" Barrow, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 276. " v. Siebold, loc, cit, pp. 30, et seg, 
^ Burckhardt, loc, cit, p. 64. Robertson Smith, loc, cit, p. 82. 
" * The Marriage Customs of the Moors of Ceylon,' in * The Folk- Lore 
Journal,' vol. vi. p. 140. 


China, the girls are obliged to marry the mother's brothers' 
sons.^ The Gonds consider it correct for the brother's 
daughter to marry the sister's son, whilst not so much stress 
is laid on the marriage of the cousins, if the sister's child 
happens to be a girl and the brother's a boy.'^ Among the 
Yerkalas of Southern India, " the first two daughters of a 
family may be claimed by the maternal uncle as wives for his 
sons. * 

As a rule, among peoples unaffected by modern civilization 
the prohibited degrees are more numerous than in advanced 
communities, the prohibitions in a great many cases referring 
even to all the members of. the tribe or clan. 

The Greenlanders, according to Egede, refrained from 
marrying their nearest kin, even in the third degree, consider- 
ing such matches to be "unwarrantable and quite un- 
natural;"* whilst Dr. Rink asserts that "the Eskimo dis- 
approves of marriages between cousins."* The same is the 
case with the Ingaliks,® the Chippewas,^ and, as a rule, the 
Indians of Oregon.® The Californian Gualala account it 
" poison," as they say, for a person to marry a cousin or an 
avuncular relation, and strictly observe in marriage the Mosaic 
table of prohibited affinities.* " By the old custom of the Aht 
tribes," Mr. Sproat remarks, " no marriage was permitted with- 
in the degree of second cousin;"^® and among the Mahlemuts, 
"cousins, however remote, do not marry."" Commonly a man 
and woman belonging to the same clan are prohibited from 
intermarrying. The Algonquins tell of cases where men, for 
breaking this rule, have been put to death by their nearest 
kinsfolk;^ and, among the Loucheux Indians, if a man 
marries within the clan, he is said to have married his sister, 
though there be not the slightest connection by blood between 

* Kohler, in * Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. vi. p. 406. 

* Spencer, * Descriptive Sociology,' Asiatic Races, p. 8. 

3 Shorn, * The Wild Tribes of Southern India,' in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' 
N. S. vol. vii. p. 187. 

* Egede, /oc. cit. p. 141. 

* Rink, * The Eskimo Tribes,' p. 23. • Dall, loc. cit, p. 196. 

7 Keating, loc. cit vol. ii. p. 171. ® Schoolcraft, /^^. «'/. vol. v. p. 655. 

* Powers, loc. cit. p. 192. ^^ Sproat, loc. cit. p. 99. 
" Dall, p. 138. ^2 Frazer, loc. cit. p. 59. 


the two.^ In some tribes, as Mr. Frazer points out, the 
marriage prohibition only extends to a man*s own clan : he 
may marry a woman of any clan but his own. But oftener 
the prohibition includes several clans, in none of which is a 
man allowed to marry.^ Thus, for instance, the Seneca tribe 
of the Iroquois was divided into two " phratrles," or divisions 
intermediate between the tribe and the clan, each including 
four clans ; the Bear, Wolf, Beaver, and Turtle clans forming 
one phratry, and the Deer, Snipe, Heron, and Hawk clans 
forming the other. Originally marriage was prohibited within 
the phratry, but was permitted with any of the clans of the 
other phratry ; but the prohibition was long since removed, 
and a Seneca may marry a woman of any clan but his own.^ 
A like exogamous division existed among the other four 
tribes of the Iroquois,* as also among the Creeks, Moquis, 
Choctaws, Chickasaws, Thlinkets, &c.^ 

Among the Pipiles of Salvador, an ancestral tree, with seven 
main branches, denoting degrees of kindred, was painted upon 
cloth, and within these seven branches, or degrees, no one was 
allowed to marry, except as a recompense for some great 
public or warlike service rendered. But within four degrees 
of consanguinity none, under any pretext, might marry .^ In 
Yucatan, there was a strong prejudice against a man wedding 
a woman who bore the same name as his own, and so far was 
this fancy carried, that he who broke the rule was looked 
upon as a renegade and an outcast. Nor could a man marry 
his mother's sister.^ Among the Azteks, too, marriages 
between blood-relations or those descended from a common 
ancestor were not allowed.® 

Among the tribes of Guiana, according to Mr. Im Thum, 
marriage is now almost always, as formerly it was always, 
contracted between members of different families, and, 
descent being traced through females, no intermarriage with 

^ Hardisty, in * Smith. Rep./ 1866, p. 315. 

* Frazer, ioc, cii, p. 60. 

3 Morgan, * Ancient Society,' pp. 90, et seq. 

* IbtiLy pp. 91-93. Cf. Morgan, * League of the Iroquois/ pp. 79, 81, 83. 
'^ Frazer, pp. 60-62. *» Bancroft, he, at. vol. iL p. 665, 
' /bid., vol. ii. p. 665. de Herrera, Ioc. cit, vol. iv. p. 171. 

^ Bancroft, vol. ii. p. 251. 

- 1 


relations on the mother's side is permitted.^ The ^undruc(^s 
are divided into clans, the members of which are strictly pro- 
hibited from forming alliances with others of the same clan. 
"A Mundrucft Indian," says Professor Agassiz, "treats a 
woman of the same order (clan) with himself as a sister ; 
any nearer relation between them is impossible."^ The 
Indians of Peru are restricted from marriage within the 
first four degrees.' The Guaranies and Abipones abhor 
alliances with even the remotest relations.* And as to the 
Yahgans of Tierra del Fuego, Mr. Bridges writes to me that 
" no marriage, no intercourse ever takes place among blood- 
relations even to second cousins." Such intercourse is held in 
utter abomination and is never heard of. Also between half- 
brothers and half-sisters marriages do not occur. 

Nowhere is marriage bound by more severe laws than 
among the Australian aborigines. Their tribes are, as a rule — 
and probably as a rule without exceptions* — grouped in 
exogamous subdivisions, the number of which varies con- 
siderably. There are tribes in which members of any clan 
are free to marry members of any clan but their own ; but 
such tribes are exceptional.* " Often," says Mr. Frazer, " an 
Australian tribe is divided into two (exogamous) phratries, each 
of which includes under it a number of totem clans ; and 
oftener still there are sub-phratries interposed between the 
phratry and the clans, each phratry including two sub-phratries, 
and the sub-phratries including totem clans."^ Most of Mr. 
Curr's very numerous correspondents who have touched on 
this question have, however, given the number of subdivisions 
in their neighbourhood as four only.® Before the occupation 
of the country by the whites, which quickly breaks down 

* Im Thum, loc. ciL pp. 175, 185. 

2 Agassiz, ' Journey in Brazil,' p. 320. 

3 Bastian, * Rechtsverhaltnisse,' p. 172. 

* Dobrizhoffer, loc. cit vol. i. p. 63 ; vol. ii. p. 212. 

* Curr, loccit, vol. i. p. 107. QC Palmer, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol 
xiii. p. 299. 

* Frazer, he, ciL p. 65. Curr, vol. i. p. 112. 

7 Frazer, p. 65. Howitt, in * Smith, Rep.,' 1883, p. 800. 
® Curr, vol. i. p. 112. Cf, Mathew, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N.S. Wales,' 
vol. xxiii. p. 402. 


aboriginal i:ustoms, any departure from the marriage system 
founded on this division was looked on with absolute horror, 
and even spoken of with reluctance. Indeed, when marriage 
or sexual intercourse with a person of a forbidden clan did 
occur, the regular penalty inflicted on the parties implicated 
was death.^ And it is a noteworthy fact, generally overlooked 
by anthropologists, that besides these prohibitions arising from 
the clan-system and, naturally, applying only to the father's, 
or, more generally, only to the mother's relations, there is, as 
it seems everywhere, a law which forbids the marriage of 
persons near of kin.^ '*A man," says Mr. Curr, "may not 
marry his mother, sister, half-sister, daughter, grand-daughter, 
aunt, niece, first or second cousin."* Among the Kumai of 
Gippsland, according to Mr. Bulmer, even third cousins are 
within the prohibited degrees of relationship.* Moreover, 
certain tribes, besides having the clan-system, are entirely 
exogamous f and, among the tribes of Western Victoria 
described by Mr. Dawson, the laws also forbid a man to marry 
into his mother's tribe, or his grandmother's tribe, or into an 
adjoining tribe, or one that speaks his own dialect.* 

In Tasmania, a man was not permitted to marry a woman of 
his own tribe (clan ?) ;^ and, in Polynesia, marriages with blood- 
relations were everywhere avoided except in royal families.^ 
Thus in Samoa, according to Mr. Turner, so much care was 
taken to prevent incest that a list of what they deemed im- 

* Curr, ioc. cit. vol. i. p. ii8. Frazer, loc, cit. p. 58. Mathew, in * Jour. 
Roy. Soc. N.S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 399. For the Australian exogamy, 
see also Howitt, in * Smith. Rep.,' 1883, pp. 797-824 ; Fison and Howitt, 
loc, ciL ; Brough Smyth, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 86-92 ; Ridley, ' The Abori- 
gines of Australia,' pp. 7-10 ; Idem,^ K^milardi,' pp. 161, ^/ seq. ; Breton, 
loc, cit. p. 202 ; Schiirmann, loc, cit, p. 222 ; Dawson, loc, cit, p. 26 ; 
Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit. vol. vi. p. 772 ; Bonney, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' 
vol. xiii. pp. 128, et seq, ; Cameron, ibitL^ vol. xiv. p. 351. 

^ Curr, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 112 ; vol. ii. p. 245. Schiirmann, loc. cit. p. 222. 
Cameron, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiv. p. 351. 
' Curr, vol. i. p. 106. * Ibid.^ vol. iii. p. 546. 

* Ibid..f vol. i. pp. 107, III. Dawson, loc. cit. p. 26. 

* Dawson, p. 27. 

^ Brough Smyth, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 386. Cf, Bonwick, * Daily Life/ 
p. 62. 
® Huth, loc, cit, p. 80. Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit. vol. vi. p. 131. 


proper marriages would almost compare with the ' Table of 
Kindred and Affinity/ They say that, of old, custom and the 
gods frowned upon the union of those in whom consanguinity 
could be closely traced.^ 

The people of the New Britain Group are divided into two 
clans, the children belonging to that of their mother, and no 
man may marry a woman of his own clan. To do so would 
bring instant destruction upon the woman, and, if not im- 
mediate death to the man, his life would never be secure. 
But such a case never occurs in a thickly populated district. 
If a man were accused of adultery or fornication with a 
woman, he would at once be acquitted by the public voice if 
he could say, " She is one of us," i.e., she belongs to my totem, 
which in itself precludes the possibility of any sexual inter- 
course between us.* According to the Rev. G. Brown, there 
are prohibited degrees even between the two distinct clans.* 
In Efate, of the New Hebrides, it would be a crime punishable 
with death for a man or woman to marry a person belonging 
to his or her mother's clan, " though they may have no recent 
relation of consanguinity to each other, and though neither 
they nor their parents may have even seen each other before."* 
In Lifu, as I am informed by Mr. Radfield, who is a resident 
of this island, marriages are forbidden between first, but not 
second cousins, both on the mother's and father's side, as well 
as between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews. Matri- 
monial alliances between first cousins are also prohibited in 
the Caroline Islands ;* whilst, in the Pelew Group, inter- 
marriage between any relations on the mother's side is 

Among the Sea Dyaks, it is contrary to custom for a man 
to wed a first cousin, who is looked upon as a sister, and no 
marriage is allowed with aunt or niece. The Land Dyaks 

* Turner, * Samoa,' p. 92. 

^ Danks, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst,' vol. xviii. pp. 282, et seq. Cf. Powell, 
loc, cit p. 86. 

' Brown, * Notes on the Duke of York Group,' &c., in * Jour. Roy. Geo. 
See.,' vol. xlvii. p. 149. 

*• Macdonald, * Oceania,' pp. 181, ^/ seq, 

* Waitz-Gerland, he, cit, vol. v. pL ii. p. 106. 

* Kubary, loc. cit, p. 35. 


permit marriage between second cousins only after the pay- 
ment of a fine of two jars, one being given by the woman 
to the relations of her lover, the other by the lover to her 
relations.^ In other tribes of the Malay Archipelago, 
according to Mr. Crawfurd, the union of near relatives 
is prohibited by the native laws, and, when such a marriage 
does take place, the parties are fined if within the third 
degree of consanguinity collaterally. In the ascending and 
descending line marriage is strictly forbidden.* Among the 
Minahassers of Celebes, marriage was not permitted between 
ascendants and descendants, brothers and sisters, uncles 
and nieces, aunts and nephews, and cousins, or between 
kinsfolk connected by combinations of these relationships.' 
The Malays of the uplands of Padang are forbidden to 
marry within the mother's tribe ; the Bataks of Sumatra, 
Alfura of Ceram and Buru, Niasians, and Timorese, within the 
father's.* Among the Italones of the Philippines, marriage 
between blood-relations is not allowed.^ The Bugis* 
and Watubela Islanders^ prohibit the intermarriage of 
cousins, paternal and maternal ; whilst, among the Orang- 
Bandwra of Malacca,® the Macassars,® and the natives of Aru, 
near New Guinea,^^ children of brothers cannot intermarry, 
though children of sisters, or of brothers and sisters, can. 
Again, among the Lettis of the Serwatty Islands, marriage may 
take place between brothers* children and between brothers' 
and sisters' children, but not between children of two sisters ;" 
and, among the Bataks, Rejangs, and natives of Amboina, a 
sister's son is allowed to marry a brother's daughter, whereas 
a brother's son must not marry a sister's daughter. ^^ The 

* St. John, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 198. Cf, Low, loc. cit. p. 300 ; Wilken, 
* Verwantschap,' p. 23. 

* Crawfurd, loc. ciL vol. iii. p. 139. 

5 Hickson, loc, cit. p. 277. Wilken, pp. 21, et seq. 

* Wilken, pp. 18, 21. * Blumentritt, loc. cit. p. 33. 
® Wilken, in * Bijdragen,' &c., ser. v. vol. i. p. 147. 

^ Riedel, loc. cit. p. 206. 

^ Wilken, in * Bijdragen,' &c., ser. v. vol. i. pp. 145, et seq. 

5 Riedel, p. 416. 

^0 Wilken, in 'Bijdragen,' &c., ser. v. vol. i. p. 146. 
» Ibid., p. 146. " Ibid., p. 148. 


penalty inflicted on incest is generally very severe in the 
Archipelago. Submersion is a common punishment ;^ and, 
among the Bataks, the parties were killed and eaten.^ 

With reference to the Karens of Burma, Dr. Bunker informs 
me that, though they never marry outside their own tribe, they 
avoid marrying with near relations, their prohibited degrees 
being nearly the same as those of the ancient Hebrews. Among 
the Kukis, according to Lieutenant Stewart, " the most strict 
rules exist forbidding too close intermarriage in families; 
cousins cannot be so allied."* The Nagas never permit 
marriage within the same family ;* and, among the Chukmas, 
if near relatives, within certain prohibited degrees, fall in love 
with each other, it is usual for both of them to pay a fine of 
fifty rupees, corporal punishment being also administered.* 
Among the Kandhs, " intermarriage between persons of the 
same tribe, however large or scattered, is considered in- 
cestuous and punishable with death." <^ The Santals make it 
a rule not to intermarry into the same tribe ;'' and, among the 
Sakais, a man goes to a considerable distance for a wife, 
generally to a tribe speaking quite a different dialect.® The 
Juings, Hos, Mundas, and other peoples in India are 
divided into clans, and a man is not allowed to marry a girl 
of his own clan.® Among the Garos, no one may take to 
wife a woman of the same " mahdri," or motherhood.^® 

According to Lieutenant-Colonel Tod, no Rajput can marry 
in his own clan.^^ " In all pure Hindu society," Sir Alfred 
Lyall states, " the law which regulates the degrees within which 
marriage is interdicted, proceeds upon the theory that between 

* Wilken, * Huwelijken tusschen bloedverwanten,' pp. 26, etseg. Riedel, 
/oc. cit p. 460. * Wilken, * Verwantschap,' p. 18. 

^ Stewart, in * Jour. As. Soc. Bengal/ vol. xxiv. p. 640. 

* Watt, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xvi. p. 359. 

* Lewin, loc, cit pp. 186, et seq. 

* Macpherson, quoted by Percival, * The Land of the Veda,' p. 345. 
Cf. Hunter, 'Rural Bengal/ vol. iii. p. 81. 

"^ Man, loc, ciL p. 103. 

® Hale, * On the Sakais/ in 'Jour. Anlhr. Inst./ vol. xv. p. 291. 
^ Dalton, loc. cit. pp. 158, 189. 
10 JHd., p. 63. 
** Tod, loc, cit vol. i. p. 145. 


agnatic relatives connubium is impossible."^ Hence it is un- 
lawful for a Brahman to wed a woman whose clan-name is the 
same as his own, a prohibition which bars marriage among 
relatives in the male line indefinitely. But besides this, con- 
nections on the female side are also forbidden to take place 
within certain wide limits.^ In the * Laws of Manu' we read 
that a damsel " who is neither a Sapind4 ' on the mother's 
side, nor belongs to the same family on the father's side, is 
recommended to twice-born men for wedlock and conjugal 
union."^ Yet in the older literature marriage with the 
daughters of the mother's brother, and sons of the father's 
sister, is permitted.^ This still holds good among the Reddies 
of southern India, and, as it seems, among other tribes belong- 
ing to the Hindu stock ; whereas children of father's brothers 
and mother's sisters are considered equal to brothers and 
sisters, and marriage with them is looked upon as highly 

Speaking of the Andamanese, Mr. Man says that "their 
customs do not permit of the union of any who are known to 
be even distantly related ; the fact of our allowing first cousins 
to marry seems to them highly objectionable and immoral."'' 
The Sinhalese consider a marriage between the father's 
sister's son and the mother's brother's daughter the most 
proper that they can contract ; but they would regard a 
marriage with the father's brother's daughter as • incestuous, 
first cousins so related being considered sisters.® 

^ Lyall, 'Asiatic Studies,' p. iq6. 

* Tylor, * Early History of Mankind,' p. 280. 

' This relationship extends to six degrees where the common ancestor 
is a male. Where the common ancestor i? a female, there \i a difference 
of opinion ; Manu and Apastamba extending the prohibition in her case 
also to six degrees, while Gautama, Vishnu, Narada, &c., limit it to four 
degrees (Mayne, * Hindu Law and Usage,' p. 87). 

* * The Laws of Manu,' ch. iii. v. 5. 

^ Weber, * Die Kastenverhaltnisse in den Brihmana und Sfttra,' in 
* Indiscbe Studien,' vol. x. pp. 75, et seq, 

^ Kearns, loc. cit, pp. 33, et seg. 

^ Man, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xii. pp. 135, et seq. 

® Bailey, in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. ii. p. 294. For the marriage 
restrictions of the Hindus, cf, Steele, *The Law and Custom of the Hindoo 
Castes,' pp. 26, 27, 163. 

- ■'I: » n.   ■< i 


As regards the prohibited degrees of the Chinese Penal 
Code, a very minute account is given by Mr. Medhurst in his 
interesting paper on * Marriage, Affinity, and Inheritance in 
China/^ Large bodies of persons in that country bear the 
same surname ; among the entire Chinese population of the 
Empire, indeed, there are hardly more than 530 surnames. A 
penalty of sixty blows is inflicted on any one who marries a 
person with the same surname.^ The punishment attached 
to the intermarriage of nearer relations on the father's side is 
much more severe. Thus, marriage or incestuous intercourse 
with a grand-uncle, a father's first cousin, a brother, or a 
nephew, is punishable by death.' Besides these prohibitions 
there are others applying within a narrower range to relatives 
on the female side. A man who marries his mother's sister 
or his sister's daughter is strangled. Less severe punishment 
is inflicted on a person who marries a uterine half-sister, 
and still less severe — eighty blows — on any one who marries 
his father's sister's daughter, mother's brother's daughter, 
or mother's sister's daughter. An after-clause abrogates 
this prohibition, and permits intermarriage between child- 
ren of brothers and sisters, or of sisters, but intermarriage 
between those of brothers is of course inadmissible.* The 
Chinese Code also interdicts occasional intercourse with any 
of those relatives with whom marriage is prohibited, the 
punishment in both cases being the same.* 

Among the Kalmucks, no man can marry a relation on the 
father's side ; and so deeply rooted is this custom among 
them, that a Kalmuck proverb says, " The great folk and dogs 
know no relationship," — alluding to the fact that only a 
prince may marry a relative.* The Yakuts,^ Samoyedes,^ 

^ ' Trans. Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,' vol. iv. pp. 3-10, 23-25,27,^/^^7. 

* IbiiLy vol. iv. pp. 21, ^Z seq, ^ Ibid., vol. iv. p. 24. 

* Ibid., vol. iv. p. 23. Jamieson, * Translations from the General Code of 
Laws of the Chinese Empire,' in * The China Review,' vol. x. pp. %2,etseq, 
Cf* GrsLYy/oc, cit, vol. i. p. 186 ; Tylor,* Early History of Mankind,' p. 281. 

^ Medhurst, in * Trans. Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,* vol. iv. p. 27. 

• Lubbock, 'The Origin of Civilisation,' p. 139. Bastian, *Rechts- 
verhaltnisse,' p. 171. ^ Bastian, p. 172. 

• Castr^n, he. cit. vol. ii. p. 168. Georgi, loc. cti, p. 282. Finsch, 
^ Reise nach West-Sibirien,' p. 543. 



Cheremises,^ &c., also avoid marriage within the paternal clan, 
and the ancient Finns did not marry kinsfolk.* Among the 
Ostyaks 'and Ossetes,* marriage with a person of one's own 
family name, however distant the relationship, is entirely 
prohibited. And in Circassia, according to Bell, not only are 
cousins, or the members of the same fraternity restricted from 
intermarrying, but even their serfs must wed with the serfs of 
another fraternity.^ 

Among the Bogos of Eastern Africa, persons related within 
the seventh degree may not intermarry, whether the relation- 
ship be on the paternal or maternal side.® Some of the clans 
of the Somals, as we are informed by Sir R. F. Burton, refuse 
maidens of the same or even a consanguineous family.' In 
Western Equatorial Africa, between two degrees north and 
two degrees south of the equator, where each tribe is divided 
into clans with descent in the female line, marriages cannot 
by any possible laws take place within the clans, however 
remote the relationship may be.® Among the Bateke, as Dr. 
Sims writes from Stanley Pool, marriages are prohibited 
between brothers and sisters of the same mother or father ; 
between first cousins ; between uncle and niece, or aunt and 
nephew. The Bakongo also, according to Mr. Ingham, hold 
all unions between near relatives, either on the father's or 
mother s side, in utter abomination. 

Mr. Cousins, to whom I am indebted for a valuable paper 
on the Cis-Natalian Kafirs, writes that, among them, marriages 
often take place within the tribe and village. But this is 
avoided, if possible ; like their chiefs, they generally endea- 
vour to marry out of their own tribe. Among this people, 
however, there is some kind of class (clan ?) division, which 

^ Georgi, /oc. at p. 31. 

* Gastrin, in * Litterara Soir^er,' 1849, pp. 12, et seq. Idem, ' Nordiska 
resor och forskningar,' vol. ii. p. 168. de Quatrefages, ' Hommes fossiles 
et hommes sauvages,' p. 604. 

' V. Haxthausen, * Transkaukasia,' p. 406, note. 

* Ibid.^ p. 406. fi Bastian, * Rechtsverhaltnisse,* p. 181, 

* Reich, * G^schichte, Natur- und Gesundheitslehre des ebeiichen 
Lebens,' p. 333. 7 Burton, * First Footsteps,' p. i acx 

« Du Chaillu, ' The People of Western Equatorial Africa,' in * Trans, 
Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. i. p. 307. 


Mr. Cousins is not fully acquainted with, and mennbers of the 
same class (clan ?) do not seem to intermarry. At any rate, near 
relations, paternal and maternal, avoid marriage with each 
other. No penalty is attached to such a marriage, but custom 
is so strong on the point that the general rule is seldom 
broken.^ According to Mr. Shooter* and Mr. Dugmore,* a 
marriage is considered incestuous if the man and woman are 
of any known or remembered degree of relationship by 
common descent ; and, if a man were to take a wife within 
the degrees prohibited- by custom, he would be denounced as 
an " evildoer."* According to Mr. Brownlee, intercourse in 
such cases is punished, whether it be by marriage or without 
marriage.^ Again, with regard to the Zulus, Mr. Eyles states 
that there is no intermarriage between the inhabitants of the 
village, the members of which are, as a rule, related. All 
intermarrying with relations is prohibited by custom, and 
such a thing is neither heard of nor thought of. Even if 
the relationship is only traditional, the custom holds good. 

A somewhat different account of the Bantu race is given 
by Mr. McCall Theal. " A native of the coast region," he 
says, " will not marry a girl whose relationship by blood to 
himself can be traced, no matter how distantly connected 
they may be. So scrupulous is he in this respect that he will 
not marry even a girl who belongs to another tribe, if she 
has the same family name as himself, though the relationship 
cannot be traced. He regards himself as the protector of 
those females whom we would term his cousins and second 
cousins, but for whom he has only the same name as for the 
daughters of his own parents, the endearing name of sister. 
In his opinion, union with one of them would be incestuous, 
something horrible, something unutterably disgraceful. The 
native of the mountains, almost as a rule, marries the daughter 
of his father's brother."* 

Mr. Conder states that, among the Bechuanas, marrying out 

1 Cf. Fritsch, /oc. cit, pp. 114, et seg,\ Bastian, ' Ethnologische For- 
schungen,' vol. i. p. xxvii. 

2 Shooter, ioc. cit, pp. 45, et seq, ^ Maclean, loc. cit. p. 163. 

* Shooter, p. 45. * Maclean, p. 115. 

• Theal, ioc, cit, pp. 16, et seq. 

X 2 



of their own tribe seems to be the common practice ; ^ whereas, 
according to Mr. Casalis, the Basutos frequently marry 
cousins. Yet, among them also, there are some tribes who 
consider such marriages incestuous.* The Hottentots are 
said by Kolben to punish alliances between first and second 
cousins with death. ^ In Madagascar, though marriage between 
brothers* children is looked upon as the most proper kind of 
connection, and brothers* and sisters' children can marry 
on the performance of a slight but prescribed ceremony, 
supposed to remove any impediment or disqualification arising 
out of consanguinity, the descendants of sisters are not allowed 
to intermarry down to the fifth or seventh generation, and a 
marriage of sisters* children, when the sisters have the same 
mother, is regarded with horror. * 

Among the Romans, alliances between persons under the 
sz,me patriapotestas — /.^.,«?^arf related within the sixth degree 
— were nefarice et incestua nuptUB ; but these prohibitions 
were gradually relaxed. From the time of the Second Punic 
War, according to Livy, even first cousins were allowed to 
intermarry ; and in 49 A.D. the Emperor Claudius, wishing 
to marry his niece Agrippina, obtained from the Senate a 
decree that marriage with a brother's daughter should be legal, 
though marriage with a sister's daughter remained illegal* 
In the fourth century, however, Constantius again forbade 
such unions, on pain of death.® Afterwards, under the 
influence of the ascetic ideas prevalent in the Church, the 
prohibited degrees were gradually extended. Theodosius the 
Great forbade under the severest penalties the union of first 
cousins, paternal and maternal ; and at the end of the sixth 
century the prohibition was extended even to the seventh 
degree. This prohibition continued in force until in the 

1 Conder,in *Jour.Anthr.Inst.,' vol.xvi.p.85. • Casalis, /^r. a/. p. 191. 
8 Kolben, 'The Present State of the Cape of Good-Hope,' voL L 
pp. l^^etseq, 

* Sibree, loc, cit pp. 185, 248, et seq. Ellis, * History of Madagascar/ 
vol. i. pp. 164, et seq, 

* Marquardt and Mommsen, * Handbuch der r5mischen Alterthiimer/ 
vol. vii. pp. 29, et seq, 

* Smith and Cheetham, ' Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,' vol. ii. 
p. 1727. 



_■ tf^ w im 


Western Church it was once more reduced to the fourth degree 
by the Lateran Council under Innocent III. in the year 1215 ; 
that is, marriage was permitted beyond the degree of third 
cousins.^ Such is the nominal law at the present time 
wherever the canon law prevails. * 

Besides the prohibitions relating to actual kinship, there are, 
among several peoples, others applying to marriage between 
relatives by alliance. Among the Andamanese, a man or 
woman may not marry into the family of a brother-in-law or 
sister-in-law. ^ The Eskimo of the north-east coast of America, 
according to Lyon, forbid or disapprove of marriage with 
two sisters ; * and, according to Dr. Daniell, the same rule pre- 
vails among the natives of Accra at the Gold Coast, who even 
prohibit a man from marrying two cousins of the same 
parentage. ^ Again, several tribes in Western Victoria do not 
permit marriage with a deceased wife's daughter by a former 
husband. * But prohibitions of this sort do not seem to be 
very common among savage and barbarous races. In many 
of the Indiaq tribes of North America, all the daughters of a 
family are, as a rule, married to the same man. A brother 
very frequently marries his deceased brother's widow ; and, 
in Africa, a son often weds all his father's widows except his 
own mother. 

Among civilized peoples, on the other hand, relations by 
affinity are frequently regarded in the same light as relations 
by blood. In Yucatan, a man was not allowed to marry his 
sister-in-law. "^ According to the Chinese Code, marriage with a 
deceased brother's widow is punished with strangulation, whilst 
marriage with a deceased wife's sister is exceedingly common, 
and has always been regarded as particularly honourable. ® 
In Japan, intercourse with a father's or a grandfather's 
concubine, or a son's or grandson's wife, involves the same 

* Smith and Cheetham, ioc. cit. vol. ii. pp. 1727, 1729. 

* Huth, loc. cit, p. 122. 

3 Man, in ' Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xii. p. 127. * Lyon, loc, cit p. 353. 

* Darnell, * The Ethnography of Akkrah and Adamp^,' in ' Jour. Ethn. 
See. London,' vol. iv. p. 14. ® Dawson, loc, cit, p. 27. 

' de Herrera, loc. cit. vol. iv. p. 171. 

* Medhurst, in * Trans. Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,* vol. iv. pp. 24, 
et seq. note. 


punishment as intercourse with a paternal aunt or a sister. ^ 


The * Institutes of Vishnu ' declare that " sexual connection 
with one's mother, or daughter, or daughter-in-law, are crimes 
in the highest degree," there being no other way to atone for 
these crimes than to proceed into the flames. ^ According to 
the laws of Moses ^ and Mohammed * and the Roman Law, * 
marriage was prohibited with mother-in-law, step-mother, 
daughter-in-law, and step-daughter — according to Mohammed, 
however, so far as the step-daughter was concerned, only if 
she were under the guardianship of her mother's husband. 
Moses also forbade marriage with the sister of a wife who 
was still living, ® and with a brother's wife, if she were 
widowed and had children by the brother ; and Mohammed 
prohibited marriage with two sisters at the same time. 

From very early times thinkers have tried to account for 
the prohibitions of marriage between near kin. Some, says 
Mr. Huth, ascribe them to a fear lest relationship may 
become too involved ; others to a fear lest affection may become 
concentrated within too narrow a circle ; because marriage 
would take place too early ; because people would be induced 
to marry each other in order that property might be kept in 
the family ; because such marriages are prohibited by " God's 
law " ; because they outrage " natural modesty" ; and, only in 
modern times, because they are supposed to prove injurious 
to the offspring. '^ 

Comparative ethnography has changed the aspect of the 
question. The horror of incest has been found to prevail 
among peoples who neither know anything of" God's law, " nor 
possess property to keep in the family. New hypotheses have 

^ Longford, * Summary of the Japanese Penal Codes,' in * Trans. As. 
Soc. Japan,' vol. v. pt. ii. p. %7, 

* * The Institutes of Vishnu,' ch. xxxiv. vv. i, et seq, 
3 * Leviticus,' ch. xviii. vv. 8, 15, 17 ; &c. 

* * The Korin,' sura iv. w. 26, et seq. 

* Justinian, loc, cit. book i. title x. § § 6, et seq, 

® See Ewald, p. 197, note 6. Cf, Smith and Cheetham, loc. cit. 
vol. ii. pp. 1725, et seq. 
7 Huth, loc. cit. p. 24. 


therefore been suggested more worthy of consideration, as 
being founded on a much firmer basis of facts. 

The late Mr. McLennan was the first to call attentipn to the 
general prevalence of the rule which forbids the members of a 
tribe (or clan) to intermarry with members of their own tribe 
(or clan). This rule he called " exogamy," in contradistinction 
to " endogamy," or the rale which forbids the members of a 
tribe to intermarry with members of other tribes. In his cele- 
brated essay on * Primitive Marriage ' he made an attempt to 
show that exogamy had arisen from female infanticide, 
"common among savages everywhere." He assumes that 
to tribes surrounded by enemies, and, unaided by art, 
contending with the difficulties of subsistence, sons were a 
source of strength, both for defence and in the quest for food, 
whilst daughters were a source of weakness. Hence the 
cruel custom which left the primitive human hordes with 
very few young women, thus seriously disturbing the balance 
of the sexes within the hordes, and forcing them to prey upon 
one another for wives. Usage, induced by necessity, would 
then in time establish a prejudice among the tribes observing , 
it — a prejudice strong as a principle of religion, as every pre- 
judice relating to marriage is apt to be — against marrying 
women of their own tribe. ^ 

Mr. Herbert Spencer has subjected this hypothesis to a 
searching criticism,^ and from an article in the * Fortnightly 
Review ' it appears as if Mr. McLennan himself had in the end 
some doubts as to its correctness.^ To Mr. Spencer's objections 
others might be added. 

A minute investigation of the extent to which female 
infanticide is practised has convinced me that Mr. McLennan 
has much exaggerated the importance of this custom. It cer- 
tainly prevails in many parts of the world ; and it is true that, 
as a rule, female children are killed rather than male. But 
there is nothing to indicate that infanticide has ever been so 
nearly universal, or has anywhere been practised on so large 

* McLennan, ' Studies in Ancient History,' pp. 75, et seq. 

* Spencer, *The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. pp. 614-619. 

' McLennan, * Exogamy and Endogamy,' in * The Fortnightly Review,' 
voL xxi. pp. 884, et seq. 


a scale, as Mr. McLennan's hypothesis presupposes. Among 
a great many existing savage peoples it is almost unheard 
of — as, for instance, among the Tuski,^ Ahts,* Western 
Eskimo,^ Botocudos,'* and in certain tribes of California.^ 
Among some of these peoples new-bom children are killed now 
and then — in case of the birth of twins, if the children are 
weak and deformed, or for some other reason — but always, it 
is said, without distinction of sex. Among the Dacotahs and 
Crees, female infanticide is only occasionally committed.* 
The Blackfeet, according to Richardson, believe that women 
who have been guilty of this crime will never reach the 
happy mountain after death, but are compelled to hover round 
the seats of their crimes, with branches of trees tied to their 
legs ; ^ and the Aleuts think that a child-murder brings mis- 
fortune on the whole village.® Among the Abipones, the 
women often practised infanticide, but it was the boy who was 
generally thus sacrificed, for when a son grew up it was 
necessary to buy a wife for him, while a grown-up daughter 
would always command her price. • 

In Africa I do not know of a single district where the 
people are in the habit of destroying new-born children. 
Herr Valdau tells us of a Bakundu woman who, accused of 
such a deed, was condemned to death. ^® 

Until the introduction of Christianity, the South Sea 
Islanders practised infanticide probably to a greater extent 
than any other people with whose history we are acquainted. 
But as the motive was often want of food for the infant, or 
interference with the personal charms of the wife, or the 
disagreeableness of baby life, boys as well as girls were killed. 
Moreover, in Samoa, in the Mitchell's and Hervey Groups, and 
in parts of New Guinea, infanticide was quite unheard of ;^^ 

^ Hooper, loc, ciL p. 201. ^ Sproat, he, ciL p. 94- 

^ Seemann, * Voyage of Herald^ vol. ii. p. 66. 

* Keane, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 206. 

* Powers, loc, cit, pp. 192, 271, 382. -Cf, V^SL\tz,/oc, cit, vol. iii. p. 106. 
^ Schoolcraft, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 243. Mackenzie, * Voyages,' p. xcviii. 
^ Franklin, 'Journey,' p. 77. ® Dall, loc, cit p. 399. 

® Reich, loc, cit pp. 457, et seq. *<* ' Ymer,' vol. v. p. 28<x 

" Turner, * Samoa,' p. 79. Williams, ' Missionary Enterprises/ p. 558^ 
Bink, in ' Bull. Soc. d' Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. xi. p. 392. 


whilst, in most of the islands belonging to the Solomon Group, 
it occurs only in extreme cases, such as that of the child being 
a bastard. ^ In the Caroline Islands, according to Chamisso, 
" the prince would have the unnatural mother punished with 
death." 2 And even in Australia, where, according to Mr. 
Curr's belief, the women reared, as a rule, only two boys and one 
girl, the rest being destroyed,* there seem to be tribes in 
which the killing of children rarely happens. * 

There are other reasons, besides those just given, for doubt- 
ing whether infanticide can ever have been so common as Mr. 
McLennan suggests. It may be assumed, as Mr. Darwin re- 
marks, that during the earliest period of human development 
man did not partially lose one of the strongest of instincts, 
common to all the lower animals, namely the love of their 
young, and consequently did not practise infanticide.^ Later 
on, the women, far from being useless to the savage tribe, ren- 
dered valuable services as food-providers. Mr. Fison, who has 
lived among uncivilized races for many years, thinks it will be 
found that female infanticide is far less common among the 
lower savages than it is among the more advanced tribes. * 
And, speaking of one of the very rudest, the Yahgans of 
Tierra del Fuego, Mr. Bridges states that it occurred only 
occasionally among them, and then was almost always the 
deed of the mother, who acted from "jealousy, or hatred of 
her husband, or because of desertion and wretchedness."^ 
Moreover, it is very generally asserted that certain Californi- 
ans never committed infanticide before the arrival of the 
whites ; ® whilst Ellis thinks that there is every reason to 
suppose that this custom was practised less extensively by 

* Elton, * Natives of the Solomon Islands,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' 
vol. xvii. p. 93. 

* Kotzebue, /oc. cit, vol. iii. p. 211. ' Curr, loc. ciL vol. i. p. 70. 

* Lumholtz, loc, cit. p. 272 (natives of Herbert River, Northern 

* Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. pp. 400, et seq, 

* Fison and Howitt, loc, cit. pp. 134-137. Cf, Farrer, * Primitive Man- 
ners and Customs,' p. 224. 

^ Mr. Bridges, in a letter. Cf, Ideniy in ' A Voice for South America,' 
vol. xiii. p. 181 ; Hyades, in 'Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. x. p. 331. 
® Powers, loc. cit, p. 207. Cf, ibid.^ p. 183. 


the Polynesians during the early periods of their history than 
it was afterwards. ^ 

But even if Mr. McLennan were right in his assumption 
that savages everywhere used to kill female infants, this 
would not explain the origin of exogamy. " In time," he says, 
** it came to be considered improper, because it was unusual, 
for a man to marry a woman of his own group." ^ But why 
should such a marriage ever have become unusual ? Why 
should the men have refrained from marrying those women 
of their own tribe who were not killed ? Why should they have 
made these beings, whom they considered so useless, even 
more useless than they naturally were, by preventing them from 
becoming mothers of sons who would have increased the 
strength of the tribe ? That the men may have endeavoured 
to make up the deficiency of women by capturing wives from 
foreign tribes is conceivable enough ; but it is hard to see why 
intercourse with women of their own tribe should on this ac- 
count have been prohibited, sometimes even on pain of death. 

That the horror of incest is innate in the human race seems 
as improbable to Mr. Herbert Spencer as to Mr. McLennan. 
According to Mr. Spencer, this feeling is a result of evolution 
gradually acquired. Primitive groups of men, he says, are 
habitually hostile. In all times and places victory is followed 
by pillage ; whatever portable things of worth the conquerors 
find they take. And of course they take women as they take 
other booty, because women are prized as wives, as concubines, 
or as drudges. A captured woman, besides her intrinsic 
value, has an extrinsic value ; " like a native wife she serves as 
a slave, but unlike a native wife, she serves also as a trophy." 
Hence members of the tribe thus married to foreign women 
are held to be more honourably married than those married to 
native women. If the tribe, becoming successful in war, robs 
adjacent tribes of their women more frequently, there will 
then grow up the idea that the now considerable class having 
foreign wives form the honourable class, and non-possession 
of a foreign wife will come to be regarded as a proof of 
cowardice. " An increasing ambition to get foreign wives will 

* Ellis, ' Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 249. 
' McLennan, * Studies in Ancient History,' p. 160. 


therefore arise ; and, as the number of those who are without 
them decreases, the brand of disgrace attaching to them will 
grow more decided ; until, in the most warlike tribes, it 
becomes an imperative requirement that a wife shall be 
obtained from another tribe — if not in open war, then by private 
abduction." ^ 

This interpretation is open to an objection similar to that 
which may be brought against Mr. McLennan s hypothesis. 
Even if it became customary for a tribe to rob foreign tribes 
of their women, we have no reason to believe that it therefore 
became customary not to marry native women. Plurality of 
wives is for savage man a source of wealth and reputation ; 
even the wretched Fuegian endeavours to procure as many as 
possible in order to obtain rowers for his canoe. Hence it could 
scarcely be considered disgraceful to have some native wives 
besides those of foreign birth. If Mr. Spencer's explanation 
is the correct one, what a deplorable lot it must have been for 
a woman to belong to a tribe always successful in war ! She had 
of course to live unmarried till she was fortunate enough to fall 
into the hands of some hostile suitor. But this would seldom 
happen, if the adjacent weaker tribes were habitually worsted 
in war. In such tribes, according to Mr. Spencer, " marrying 
within the tribe will not only be habitual, but there will arise a 
prejudice, and eventually a law, against taking wives from 
other tribes." * 

Least of all can Mr. Spencer's hypothesis explain the origin 
of prohibitions of marriage between the nearest kin. It pre- 
supposes that the tribe has been frequently successful in war 
during so long a period that usage has had time to grow into law. 
But since such prohibitions are practically common to all man- 
kind, they cannot have originated in the way suggested, because 
where there is a vanquisher there must also be a vanquished. 
Moreover, it is impossible to suppose that that powerful feeling 
which restrains parents from marrying their children, brothers 
from marrying their sisters, can have been due to man's vain 
desire to have a trophy in his wife. * 

' Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. p. 619-621. 
* Ibid,^ pp. 627, et seq, 

' Mr. Huth, in the first edition of his work, *The Marriage of Near 
Kin/ suggests (p. 157) that marriage between parents and children is 


Sir John Lubbock explains the origin of exogamy in a 
quite different way. Believing that in man's primitive state 
all the men of a tribe were married to all the women, and that 
no one could appropriate one of them to himself without 
infringing on the general rights of the tribe, he suggests that 
women taken in war from a foreign tribe were in a different 
position. The tribe, as a tribe, had no right to these women^ 
and they would become wives in our sense of the term. ^ 

It is unnecessary to say much about this hypothesis, as it 
stands or falls with Sir J. Lubbock's theory of " communal 
marriage." Why should women taken in war have been the 
men's personal property, if the women of the tribe were not so ? 
As Mr. McLennan justly remarks, war-captives are usually 
obtained by group-acts, or quasi group-acts; hence capture 
would be recognized as a regular mode of adding women to 
the group, subject to the customary rights of its male members ; 
and every man in the group would claim the communal 
right to women taken by others. ^ 

Again, Dr. Tylor and Professor Kohler have expressed their 
belief in the explanation that exogamy was an early method 
of political self-preservation. ^ " Among tribes of low culture," 

considered incestuous because marriage between old men and young 
women in general is considered so. In the second edition, Mr. Huth 
seems to have given up this most unfortunate hypothesis, as he says 
(p. 18} that 'the prohibition of marriage with those who were regarded 
as near of kin was derived from the same causes which made exogamy 
imperative,' that is, the causes suggested by Mr. Spencer. 

^ Lubbock, *The Origin of Civilisation,' pp. 135, et seq. Professor 
Wilken (in ' De Indische Gids/ 1880, vol. ii. p. 612) accepts this explana- 
tion of the origin of exogamy, and considers it certain (Jbid,y pp. 618^ 
619, 623) that prohibitions of close intermarriage have everywhere 
originated in true exogamy. 

^ McLennan, ' Studies/ &c., p. 345. Among the Australian Goumditch- 
mara, according to the Rev. J. H. Stable, the man who captured a 
woman in war never kept her himself, but was compelled to give her to 
some one else (Fison and Howitt, loc. cit. p. 276). 

' Tylor, in *Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. pp. 266-268. Kohler, in 
'Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. iii. pp. 361, ^/ j^^. Professor Kohler 
also thinks (* Krit. Vierteljahrschr. f. Gesetzg.,' N. S. vol. iv. p. 181) that 
one of the chief causes of exogamy was the unpleasantly dependent posi- 
tion in which, in endogamous marriage, the husband stood to the family 
of his wife. 


says Dr. Tylor, " there is but one means known of keeping 
up permanent alliance, and that means is intermarriage. 
Exogamy, enabling a growing tribe to keep itself compact by 
constant unions between its spreading clans, enables it to over- 
match any number of small intermarrying groups, isolated and 
helpless. Again and again in the world's history, savage tribes 
must have had plainly before their minds the simple practical 
alternative between marrying-out and being killed out." ^ 

That intermarriage is valuable from a political point of 
view, and has often taken place in order to increase inter- 
tribal or international friendship, is beyond doubt. It is 
another question whether the strictly prohibitive exogamous 
rules, the infringement of which is considered a most heinous 
crime, can be accounted for in this way. It is worth noticing 
that not only marriage, but also less regular connections be- 
tween members of the same exogamous group are held in 
horror. The Australians, for instance, consider cohabitation 
between individuals belonging to clans that cannot inter- 
marry not less criminal than marriage, often punishing such 
unions with death.* Dr. Tylor remarks that anthropologists 
have long had before them the problem of determining how 
far clan-exogamy may have been the origin of the prohibited 
degrees in matrimony.* But we have seen that it is practic- 
ally impossible to trace any distinct limit between these two 
sets of rules ; hence they seem to be fundamentally identical 
— a conclusion in which most anthropologists agree. And 
the prohibitions of close intermarriage certainly cannot be 
explained as a " method of political self-preservation." 

Other writers — and among them Mr. Morgan — have sug- 
gested that prohibitions of the marriage of near kin have 
arisen from observation of the injurious results of such 
unions.* But most investigators who have considered the 

* Tylor, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. p. 267. 

* Curr, loc. a'f.yoL i. p. 100. Mathew, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N.S. Wales,' 
vol. xxiii. p. 403. Dawson, /oc, cit p. 28. Frazer, loc, cit. pp. 58, et seq. 
There seem to be two or three exceptions to this rule among the Aus- 
tralian tribes, but Mr. Curr (vol. i. p. 417) ascribes such cases to the 
influence of the whites. 

' Tylor, in ' Jour. Anthr. Inst,' vol. xviii. p. 265. 

* Morgan, ' Ancient Society,' p. 424. 


subject believe that this knowledge could be gained only by- 
lengthened observation, and, to quote Dr. Peschel, is " un- 
attainable by unsettled and childishly heedless races/' 
among whom, nevertheless, a horror of incest is developed 
most strongly.^ Sir Henry Maine, on the other hand, thinks 
that the men who discovered the use of fire and selected the 
wild forms of certain animals for domestication and of vege- 
tables for cultivation, might also have been able to find out 
that children of unsound constitution were bom of nearly 
related parents.* In the next chapter, I shall have occasion 
to mention some instances which possibly may point in this 
direction, but in no case does such knowledge appear to be 
generally diffused among backward races. Mr. Curr has been 
unable to discover on what ground consanguineous marriages 
are held to be objectionable by the Australians, their replies 
to questions on this head invariably being, "Our tribe always 
did as we do in this matter." Yet they are well aware, he 
says, that the aim of the exogamous restrictions is to prevent 
the union of nearly related individuals.* Dr. Sims writes 
that no other reason for the avoidance of marriage between 
near relations has been stated to him by the indigenous 
Bateke than that of" shame." Mr. Bridges informs me that the 
Yahgans point simply to the fact of relationship as the 
reason ; and, when Azara asked the Charruas why a brother 
and sister never intermarried, they replied that they did 
not know why.* It is conceivable that the experience of the 
injurious results of such marriages, once acquired, might after- 
wards have fallen into oblivion, although the prohibition con- 
tinued to exist. But Azara expressly states that the Charruas 
have no law forbidding incestuous alliances, yet he has never 
seen nor heard of any among them. 

Whatever observations may have been made, the pro- 
hibition of incest is in no case founded on experience. Had 
the savage man discerned that children born of marriage 

1 Lubbock, * The Customs of Marriage and Systems of Relationship 
among the Australians,' in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiv. p. 300. Darwin, 
* Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii. p. 124. Peschel, loc- 
cit. p. 224. 

2 Maine, * Early Law and Custom,' p. 228. 

3 Curr, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 112. * Azara, loc, cit, vol. ii. |».2i. 


between closely related persons are not so sound and vigorous 
as others, he would scarcely have allowed this knowledge to 
check his passions. Considering how seldom a civilized man 
who has any disease, or tendency to disease, which is likely to 
be transmitted to his descendants, hesitates to marry an 
equally unhealthy woman, it would surely be unreasonable to 
suppose that savages have greater forethought and self-com- 
mand.^ But even if we admit that man originally avoided 
marriage with near kin from sagacious calculation, and that 
he did this during so long a period that usage grew into law, 
we do not advance a step further. All the writers whose 
hypotheses have been considered in this chapter, assume that 
men avoid incestuous marriages only because they are taught 
to do so. " It is probable," says Mr. Huth, " that, if brothers 
and sisters were allowed to marry, they would do so while yet 
too young." 2 But though law and custom may prevent 
passion from passing into action, they cannot wholly destroy 
its inward power. Law may forbid a son to marry his 
mother, a brother his sister, but it could not prevent him from 
desiring such a union if the desire were natural. Where does 
that appetite exist } The home is kept pure from incestuous 
defilement neither by laws, nor by customs, nor by education, 
but by an instinct which under normal circumstances makes 
sexual love between the nearest kin a psychical impossibility. 
An unwritten law, says Plato, defends "as sufficiently as 
possible '* parents from incestuous intercourse with their 
children, brothers from intercourse with their sisters : dW' 
oiS' iin6vfji,la ravrri^ ttj^ avvovala^ ro irapdirav elaipj^erai 
TOV9 7roX\ov9 " — " nor does even the desire for this inter- 
course come at all upon the masses."* 

* C/, Lang, * Custom and Myth,' p. 256. 
2 Huth, /oc, cit, p. 342. 

* Plato, * Sofwi,* book viii. ch. vi. p. 838. 




It has been asserted that, if there be really an innate horror 
of incest, it ought to show itself intuitively when persons are 
ignorant of any relationship. But ancient writers state that, 
in Rome, incestuous unions often resulted from the exposure of 
infants who were reared by slave-dealers. Not long ago Selim 
Pasha unwittingly married his sister, who, like himself, had 
been a Circassian slave. The story told in the * Heptameron ' 
of a double incest was probably true, and became widely 
spread. In the early romances incestuous love is by no 
means an uncommon theme, and the folk-lore of various 
peoples gives many instances. Thus, in the story of Swet- 
Basanta, a son, separated from his mother when an infant, 
afterwards meets her, and wants to marry her ; and so on. 
Man has thus no horror of marriage with even the nearest 
kindred if he is unaware of their consanguinity ; conse- 
quently, Mr. Huth concludes, there is no innate feeling 
against incest.^ 

Of course I agree with Mr. Huth in thinking that there is 
no innate aversion to marriage with near relations. What I 
maintain is, that there is an innate aversion to sexual inter- 
course between persons living very closely together from 
early youth, and that, as such persons are in most cases 
related, this feeling displays itself chiefly as a horror of inter- 
course between near kin. 

^ Huth, loc, cit. pp. 10-14. 

"7~i— ' T- ^m**»e.^.^.^ -Z. ^rrT' ^^ ■-*~.-- ^^ .• _''i."ii i n i m . v^' »tXW [ 


The existence of an innate aversion of this kind has been 
taken by various writers as a psychological fact proved by 
common experience ;^ and it seems impossible otherwise to 
explain the feeling which makes the relationships between 
parents and children, and brothers and sisters, so free from all 
sexual excitement. But the chief evidence is afforded by an 
abundance of ethnographical facts which prove that it is not, 
in the first place, by the degrees of consanguinity, but by the 
close living together that prohibitory laws against inter- 
marriage are determined. 

Egede asserts that, among the Greenlanders, it would be 
reckoned uncouth and blamable, if a lad and a girl who 
had served and been educated in one family, desired to be 
married to one another ; * and, according to Dr. Nansen, it is 
preferred that the contracting parties should belong to dif- 
ferent settlements.* Colonel Macpherson states that, among 
the Kandhs, marriage cannot take place even with strangers 
who have been long adopted into, or domesticated with, a 
tribe.* And Mr. Cousins writes to me that the Cis-Natalian 
Kafirs dislike marriage between persons who live very closely 
together, whether related or not 

Many peoples have a rule of exogamy that does not de- 
pend on kinship at all. Piedrahita relates of the Panches 
of Bogota that the men and women of one town did not inter- 
marry, as they held themselves to be brothers and sisters, 
and the impediment of kinship was sacred to them ; but such 
was their ignorance that, if a sister were born in a diflferent 
town from her brother, he was not prevented from marrying 
her.* The Yam^os, on the river Amazons, will not suflfer an 
intermarriage between members of the same community, " as 

* Moriz Wagner, in 'Kosmos,' 1886, vol. i. pp. 21, &c. v. Hellwald 
/oc. cit, pp. 179, et seq. Wake, 'The Development of Marriage and 
Kinship,' p. 55. Dalton, ioc, ciL p. 248, note. Speaking of the Australian 
tribes, Mr. Mathew says (* Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 403), 
*' There may also be an auxiliary cause to exogamy among barbarians in 
what may be called an instinctive hankering after foreign women.' 

* Egede, Ioc. ciU p. 141. Cf, Cranz, Ioc, ciL vol. i. p. 147. 
' Nansen, Ioc, cit, vol. ii. p. 330. 

* Macpherson, * Memorials of Service in India,' p. 69. 

* Tylor, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. p. 268. 



being friends in blood, though no real affinity between them 
can be proved."^ The Uaupds, according to Mr. Wallace, ** do 
not often marry with relations, or even neighbours, prefer- 
ring those from a distance, or even from other tribes."* The 
Australian tribe, as. Mr. Howitt points out, is organized in 
two ways. On the one hand, it is divided socially into 
phratries and clans ; and, on the other hand, it is divided 
geographically into hordes. The two organizations are co- 
existent, but the divisions of the one do not correspond with 
those of the other. For while all the people who belong to any 
given local group are found in one locality alone, those who 
belong to any given social group are to be found distributed 
among many, if not among all, of the local groups. Now, 
in many tribes, local proximity by birth is quite an in- 
superable obstacle to marriage, a man being absolutely for- 
bidden to marry, or have sexual intercourse with, a woman of 
the same horde or sub-horde. " However eligible she may be 
in other respects," says Mr. Howitt, " the fact that both parties 
belong to the same locality is held by certain tribes, the 
Kurnai for example, to make them * too near each other.' " 
It is chiefly in tribes where the clan-system has been weak- 
ened, or has become almost extinct, that the local organi- 
zation has assumed such overwhelming preponderance, but 
even in some of the tribes which have a vigorous clan- 
system local restraints upon marriage are strictly enforced.* 
In Sumatra, the country was originally divided into native 
districts called " margas," each marga, as a rule, having in it 
several villages. Each of these village communities is a 
-collection of families, either related or not to each other by 
the ties of blood, — consisting of the original family, or nucleus 
of the village, and those descended from it, and of immigrants 
who have come from different places, and at different times, 
with their descendants.* At least among certain tribes, 

^ V. Martius, in 'Jour. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' vol. ii. p. 198. Idemy 'Beitrage 
2ur Ethnographic,' &c., vol. i. p. 117. 

* Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 497. v. Martius, vol. i. p. 594, 
^ Howitt, in * Smith. Rep.,' 1883, pp. 800, 810, 819, ^/ seq, Cf, Mathew, 

in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,* vol. xxiii. p. 399. 

* Forbes, * The Eastern Archipelago,' pp. 142, et seq. 



marriage between members of the same village or village 
cluster, and in some districts even between those of the same 
marga, is prohibited.^ The Kotars of the Neilgherries,* 
Galela,^Fijians/ Zulus,^ Wakamba,® and Kamchadales ^ avoid, 
as a rule, marriage with members of the same village. So 
also do the Nogai, who consider it most honest for a man 
to marry a woman whom he has never seen before.® In 
various of the smaller islands belonging to the Indian Archi- 
pelago, according to Riedel, women prefer marriage with 
strangers.^ The Assamese have a national festival named 
the " Baisakh Bihu," which is as gay as a carnival, the women, 
and especially the maidens, enjoying unusual liberty 
as long as it lasts. "For many days before the actual 
festival," says Colonel Daltpn, "the young people in the 
villages may be seen moving about in groups gaily dressed 
or forming circles, in the midst of which the prettiest girls 
dance with their long hair loose on their shoulders." But on 
these occasions the girls "do not like to dance before the 
men of their own village."^® Professor Kovalevsky observes 
that, in some parts of Russia, the bride is always taken from 
another village than the bridegroom's ; and, even in provinces 
in which no similar custom is known to exist, " the bridegroom 
is constantly spoken of as a foreigner (' choujoy/ *choujaninin '), 
and his friends and attendants are represented as coming 
with him from a distant country, in order to take away the 
future spouse."^^ 

We have seen how variously defined the prohibited degrees 

* Forbes, 'The Eastern Archipelago', p. 196. Forbes, in 'Jour. Anthr, 
Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 347. Wilken, .' Verwantschap,' p. 58. 

2 Metz, * The Tribes Inhabiting the Neilgherry Hills,' p. 131. 

3 Riedel, * Galela und Tobeloresen,' in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. xvii. 
p. 'j'j. * Bastian, * Inselgruppen in Oceanien,' p. 61. 

* Mr. Eyles, in a letter. 

** Hildebrandt, ' Ethnographische Notizen iiber Wak^mba und ihre 
Nachbaren,' in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. x. p. 401. 
^ Krasheninnikoff, loc. cit, p. 212. 
^ Bastian, * Rechtsverhaltnisse,* p. 172. 

'J Riedel, loc, ciL pp. 302, 335, 351. 10 Dalton, loc, cit, p. 81. 

1* Kovalevsky, * Marriage among the Early Slavs,' in * Folk- Lore,' 
vol. i. p. 475- 

Y 2 

'- •• — — 


are in the laws of nations. Facts show that the extent to 
which relatives are not allowed to intermarry is nearly con- 
nected with their close living together. Generally speaking, 
the prohibited degrees are extended much farther among 
savage and barbarous peoples than in civilized societies. As 
a rule, the former, if they have not remained in the most 
primitive social condition of man, live, not in separate families, 
but in large households or communities, all the members of 
which dwell in very close contact with each other. 

The communism in the family life of the exogamous 
Indians of North America has been exhaustively illustrated 
by Mr. Morgan in his work on * Houses and House-Life of 
the American Aborigines.' " The household of the Mandans," 
he says, "consisting of from twenty to forty persons, the 
households of the Columbian tribes of about the same num- 
ber, the Soshonee household of seven families, the households 
of the Sauks, of the Iroquois, and of the Creeks, each com- 
posed of several families, are fair types of the households of 
the Northern Indians at the epoch of their discovery. The 
fact is also established that these tribes constructed, as a rule,, 
large joint tenement houses, each of which was occupied by 
a large household composed of several families, among whom 
provisions were in common, and who practised communism 
in living in the household."^ Among the Iroquois, each 
household was made up on the principle of kinship through 
females, so that the married women, usually sisters, own or 
collateral, being of the same gens or clan, together with their 
children made a family circle, within which, as we have seen^ 
Uitermarriage was entirely prohibited.* The Senel in Cali- 
fornia live sometimes from twenty to thirty together in the 
same immense dome-shaped or oblong lodge of willow-poles, 
including all who are blood-relations.^ According to E^ede> 
the Greenlanders, who prohibit marriage between cousins, 
continue after marriage, to live in their parents' house 
together with other kindred ; and what they get they all 
enjoy in common.* The Chippewas, who consider cousins 

^ Moi^gan, * Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines,' p. 73. 

* Ibid,y p. 64. ^ Powers, loc. cii. p. 168. 

* Egede, loc, at, p. 147. Cf. Nansen, loc. cit, vol. ii. pp. 291, 297. 

-•US" «• " iir^ 


german in the same light as brothers and sisters, but do not 
recognize relationship beyond this degree, are divided into 
small bands, consisting of but few families each.^ Among 
the exogamous Uaup^s, the houses are the abode of numer- 
ous families, and sometimes of a whole horde.^ Among 
the Yahgans, who regard marriage between first and second 
cousins as incestuous, " occasionally as many as five families 
are to be found living in a wigwam, but generally two 
families." ^ 

The Australian aborigines live mostly in small hordes, 
often consisting of from thirty to fifty men, women, and 
children. Such a horde, according to Mr. Brough Smyth, 
*' is in fact but an enlargement of a family circle, and none 
within it can intermarry." * Among the Efatese, in whose 
clan-system the prohibition of incest is a fundamental law, 
each clan is regarded as one family. " A child of a," says 
Mr. Macdonald, ** calls her own mother mother, and all her 
mother's tribe (clan) sisters mother ; and calls by the name 
of father not only her own father but all his tribe (clan) 
brothers ; and they all call the child their child." ^ The 
Malays, according to Professor Wilken, live, as a rule, in 
large houses containing a great number of differently re- 
lated persons.** " In Nanusa," Dr. Hickson remarks, " I un- 
derstood that marriage was not permitted between mem- 
bers of the same household! The enormous households of 
the Nanusa archipelago are probably the remnants of a much 
more complete system of intra-tribal clanships, which has 
become almost obliterated in the more highly developed races 
of Sangir and Siauw." ^ Among the Nairs, a household, the 
members of which are strictly prohibited from sexual relation 
with each other, includes, as a rule, many allied men, women, 
and children, who not only live together in large common 
houses, but possess everything in common.® Among the 

* Keating, loc, cit, vol. ii. pp. 170, 171, 153. 

* Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' pp. 497, 490. 

3 Mr. Bridges, in a letter. * Brough Smyth, loc. at, vol. i. p. xxiv. 

* Macdonald, ' Oceania,' pp. 186-188. 

* Wilken, * Verwantschap,' pp. 25, etseq. ^ Hickson, loc. ciL p. 197. 
« Buchanan, 'Journey from Madras,' p. 738. Bachofen, *Antiqua- 

rische Briefe,' pp. 271, ^/ seq. Starcke, loc, cit, p. 83. 


Kafirs, the dimensions of a kraal are determined by the 
number of a man's family and dependants, the family con- 
sisting of the father together with his children, including 
married sons.^ 

The South Slavonians live in house-communities, each 
consisting of a body of from fifteen to sixty members, or 
even more, who are blood-relations to the second or third 
degree, of course only on the male side.* These related 
families associate in a common dwelling or group of dwell- 
ings, governed by a common chief. " At the present 
moment,'* Sir Henry Maine remarks, " the common residence 
of so many persons of both sexes in the same household may 
be said to be only possible through their belief that any 
union of kinsmen and kinswomen would be incestuous. The 
South Slavonian table of prohibited degrees is extremely 
wide."^ Again, Professor Kohler points out the connection 
between the extensive prohibitions of the Hindus and their 
large households.* In Wales there existed, as a national 
institution, a joint-family called "trev," consisting of four 
generations. Marriage, says Mr. Lewis, was to be ** outside 
the trev, or kindred who lived together within one enclosure." ^ 

Montesquieu, indeed, observed long ago that marriage 
between cousins was prohibited by peoples among whom 
brothers and their children used to live in the same house. 
" Chez ces peuples," he says, " le mariage entre cousins ger- 
mains doit ^tre regard^ comme contraire a la nature ; chez 
les autres, non." According to him, this prohibition has the 
same origin as the aversion to sexual relations between brothers 
and sisters, i.e,^ " les pferes et les meres ayent voulu conserver 
les moeurs de leurs enfans et leurs maisons pures."® Hold- 
ing a similar opinion, Dr. Bertillon maintains that, properly 
speaking, it was not consanguinity, but the purity of home, 

1 Shooter, loc, cit pp. 15, 47, 86. Nauhaus, in * Verhandl. Berl. Ges. 
Anthr.,' 1882, p. 200. * Krauss, loc. cit p. 75. 

5 Maine, ' Early Law and Custom,' pp. 241, 254, 255, 237. 

* Kohler, in * Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. ill. p. 362. 

* Lewis, *The Ancient Laws of Wales,' pp. 56, 57, 196. 

' Montesquieu, *De Tesprit des loi,' book xxvi. ch. 14, vol. iii. pp. 49, 


that the ancient legislators were thinking of when they for- 
bade close intermarriage.^ It is scarcely necessary to say 
how far I am from thinking that these prohibitions are, in the 
first place, due to the providence of parents or legislators. 

On the other hand, where the families live more separately^ 
such extensive prohibitions to close intermarrying do not 
generally exist. Among the Isdnna Indians of Brazil, who 
prefer marriage with relations, cousins with cousins, uncles 
with nieces, and nephews with aunts, each family has a 
separate house.^ ' The endogamous Maoris, who frequently 
marry near relations, have their villages generally scattered 
over a large plot of ground, the personal rights of possession 
being held most sacred.* " There is no national bond of 
union amongst them," says Mr. Yate ; " each one is jealous 
of the authority and power of his neighbour; the hand of 
each individual is against every man, and every man's hand 
against him." * Among the Todas, who live in strict endo- 
gamy, families reside in permanent villages having each a 
certain tract of grazing ground around it, and containing from 
two to three huts. Most of these huts consist of only one 
room or cabin, and each room holds one entire subdivision of 
a family.* The Bushmans, among whom no degree of con- 
sanguinity prevents a matrimonial connection, except be- 
tween brothers and sisters, parents and children,® live a 
solitary life in small family huts, not high enough to admit 
even of a Bushman standing upright within it.^ As regards the 
Wanyoro, whose table of prohibited degrees is unusually 
small, Emin Pasha states, "Brother, sister, brother-in-law, 
and son-in-law, are the recognized grades of relationship. I 
have never noticed any intimate connection between more 
distant relations."® 

The Sinhalese, who frequently marry their cousins on the 

* Bertillon, * Manage (hygiene matrimoniale),' in * Diet, encycl. des 
sciences m^dicales,' sen ii. vol . v. p. 60. 

* Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' pp. 507, et seq. 

* Yate, loc. cit, pp. 154, 103. * Ibid,, p. 114. 

* Marshall, loc, cit. pp. 59, et seq, 

^ Barrow, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 276. ^ Burchell, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 56. 

® * Emin Pasha in Central Africa,' p. 74. 


paternal side, have from time immemorial lived either in very 
small villages, consisting of a few houses, or in detached 
habitations, separated from each other. Each dwelling is a 
little establishment in itself, and each little village, so far as 
its wants are concerned, may be considered independent. 
** They seldom visit each other, except it be to beg or borrow 
something. Even near relations manifest no affection to 
each other in their visits, but sit with the gravity of strangers." ^ 

It is easy to explain, says Ewald, why, among the Hebrews, 
marriage between brothers and sisters in the widest sense 
was forbidden, while that between cousins was permitted : — 
"The latter did not form one united household, and the 
more each house stood strictly by itself in the ancient 
fashion, the wider seemed the separation between cousins."* 
Tacitus states that the ancient Germans, whose prohibi- 
tions against incest seem to have included only the nearest 
relations, lived in scattered families at some distance from 
each other.* And a comparison between the forbidden 
degrees of the Greeks and Romans clearly shows where 
we have to seek the real cause of the prohibitions. Among 
the former, even very close relationship was no hindrance to 
intermarriage, whereas, among the latter, it was not allowed 
between rather distantly related persons. This difference, 
as Rossbach justly points out, was due to the fact that the 
family feeling of the Greeks was much weaker than that of the 
Romans, among whom, in early times, a son used to remain 
in his father's house even after marriage, so that cousins on 
the father's side were brought up as brothers and sisters. 
Later on, the several families separated from the common 
household, and the prohibited degrees were considerably 

The reader may perhaps be disposed to reproach me for 
selecting only such instances as are in favour of my theory ; but 
statistical data will show that such an imputation would be 
groundless. In speaking of the " classificatory system of 
relationship," I pointed out that this system springs, to a 

^ Davy, loc. cit p. 278. Pridham, loc, ciL voL i. pp. 262, 265. 

* Ewald, loc, cit, pp. 197, et seq. ^ Tacitus, loc, cit ch. 3cvi. 

^ Rossbach, loc. cit pp. 421-423, 429, 439. 



great extent, from the close living together of considerable 
numbers of kinsfolk. Now it is most interesting to note that 
Dr. Tylor, by his method of adhesions, has found the two 
institutions, exogamy and classificatory relationship, to be in 
fact two sides of one institution. " In reckoning," he says, 
** from the present schedules the number of peoples who use 
relationship names more or less corresponding to the classi- 
ficatory systems here considered, they are found to be fifty- 
three, and the estimated numberof these which might coincide 
accidentally with exogamy, were there no close connexion 
between them, would be about twelve. But in fact the num- 
ber of peoples who have both exogamy and classification is 
thirty-three, this strong coincidence being the measure of the 
close causal connection subsisting between the two institutions. 
The adherence is even stronger as to cross-cousin marriage 
{i,e,, that the children of two brothers may not marry, nor the 
children of two sisters, though the child of the brother may 
marry the child of the sister), of which twenty-one cases 
appear in the schedules, no less than fifteen of the peoples 
practising it being also known as exogamous."^ Among the 
Reddies, for instance, a father's elder brother and a mother's 
elder sister are called, respectively, " great-father " and " great- 
mother,'* and a father's younger brother and a mother's 
younger sister, respectively, " lesser-father " and ** lesser- 
mother " ; whereas the father's sisters and the mother's 
brothers are denoted by quite different terms. Mr. Keams 
remarks that they consider the difference as well as the 
distance of relationship between these two groups of relations 
to be so great that they think it unlawful and incestuous to 
marry the daughter of a father's brother or of a mother's 
sister, she being equal to a sister, whilst it is perfectly legal 
to marry the daughter of a father's sister or of a mother's 

We have seen that the prohibitions against incest are very 
often more or less one-sided, applying more extensively either 
to the relations on the father's side or to those on the 
mother's, according as descent is reckoned through men or 

* Tylor, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. p. 264. 
Keams, loc. cit pp. 33, et seg. 


women. We have also seen that the line of descent is 
intimately connected with local relationships ; and we may 
now fairly infer that the same local relationships exercise a 
considerable influence on the table of prohibited degrees. 
Among the Rejangs of Sumatra, says Marsden, a marriage 
must not take place between relations within the third degree ; 
" but there are exceptions for the descendants of females who, 
passing into other families, become as strangers."^ A Chinese 
woman, on marriage, alienates herself from her own family to 
be incorporated into that of her husband ; hence, as Mr. 
Medhurst observes, children of brothers and sisters may 
marry at pleasure, while those of brothers cannot be united 
on pain of death.^ 

In a large number of cases, prohibitions of intermarriage 
are only indirectly influenced by the close living together. 
Aversion to the intermarriage of persons who live in in- 
timate connection with each other has provoked prohibitions 
of the intermarriage of relations; and, as kinship is traced 
by means of a system of names, the name comes to be 
considered identical with relationship. This system, as Dr. 
Tylor remarks,^ is necessarily one-sided. Though it will 
keep up the record of descent either on the male or female 
side, it cannot do both at once. The other line, not having 
been kept up by such means of record, even where it is 
recognized as a line of relationship, is more or less neglected, 
and is soon forgotten ; hence the prohibited degrees often 
extend very far on the one side, but not on the other. We 
have seen many instances of a common surname being a bar 
to intermarriage. This is especially the case with peoples 
among whom the clannish feeling is highly developed. Thus 
even the commonest Chinese are often able to trace their 
descent through lines of ancestry more remote than any that 
England's most ancient families can claim.* And, among 
the Ossetes, a man is bound to take blood-revenge for a 

^ Marsden, loc. cit p. 228. 

' Medhurst, in * Trans. Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,' vol. iv. p. 24, 
note t. 

3 Tylor, * Early History of Mankind,' pp. 285, tf/ seq, 

* Medhurst, in * Trans. Roy. As. Soc. China Branch,' vol. iv. p. 22. 


cousin a hundred times removed who bears his name, whereas 
relationship on the mother's side is not recognized.^ 

Generally speaking, the feeling that two persons are in- 
timately connected in some way or other may, through an 
association of ideas, give rise to the notion that marriage or 
intercourse between them is incestuous. Hence the prohibi- 
tions of marriage between relations by alliance and by adoption. 
Hence, too, the prohibitions on the ground of what is called 
"spiritual relationship." The Emperor Justinian passed a law 
forbidding any man to marry a woman for whom he had stood 
as godfather in baptism, the tie of the godfather and god- 
child being so analogous to that of the father and child as 
to make such a marriage appear improper.^ In the Roman 
Church, sponsorship creates a bar to the marriage even of 
co-sponsors, and the restriction can be removed only by a 
dispensation.^ In Eastern Europe, the groomsman at a 
wedding comes under a set of rules which forbid inter- 
marriage with the family of the bride to exactly the same 
extent as if he were naturally the brother of the bride- 
groom.* A similar cognatio spiritualise according to the old 
law-books of India, occurs between a pupil and his ** guru,'* 
that is, the teacher who instructs him in the Veda. The 
pupil lived in his guru's house for several years, and regarded 
him almost as a father.^ Hence adultery with a guru's wife 
was considered a mortal sin.® 

But how, then, are we to explain the exceptions, apparent 
or real, to the rule that close living together inspires an 
aversion to intermarriage } How are we to explain the fact 
that, besides tribes that are exogamous, there are others that 
are endogamous, and that, besides peoples with very exten- 
sive laws against intermarriage, there are others among 

' V. Haxthausen, ' Transkaukasia,' p. 406. 

* * Codex Justinianeus,' book v. title iv. § 26. 
3 Tylor, * Early History of Mankind,' p. 288. 

* Maine, * Early Law and Custom,' pp. 257, ^/ seq, 

^ Kohler, ' Indisches Ehe- und Familienrecht,' in 'Zeitschr. f. vgL 
Rechtswiss./ vol. iii. pp. 366, et seq, 

* * The Laws of Manu,' ch. ix. v. 235 ; ch. xi. v. 55 ; ch. xii. v. 58. 
* The Institutes of Vishnu,' ch. xxxv. v. i. 


whom unions take place between very near relations, such 
as brothers and sisters, and even parents and children ? 

In the next chapter we shall examine the psychological 
principle which underlies the endogamous marriage. For the 
present it is sufficient to say that endogamy never, except in 
cases of extreme isolation, seems to occur among peoples 
living in very small communities with close connections 
between their members. Concerning the Australians, Mr. 
Curr expressly states that those tribes which are endogamous 
are, as a rule, stronger in numbers than those in which 
exogamous marriage obtains.^ 

The marriage of brother and sister means, as we have seen, 
in most cases, marriage between a half-brother and a half- 
sister, having the same father but different mothers. Such 
marriages are not necessarily contrary to the principle here 
laid down. Polygyny breaks up the one family into as 
many sub-families as there are wives who have children, and 
it is not possible for the father of these sub-families to be a 
member of each of them in the same sense as the father is a 
member of the monogamous family. Nor are the children 
of the different mothers brought into such close contact as 
the children of one mother, every wife with her own family 
forming a little separate group, and generally living in a sepa- 
rate hut.2 On the contrary, hatred and rivalry are of no rare 
occurrence among the members of the various sub-families. 
In the Pelew Islands, according to Herr Kubary, it very seldom 
happens that the several wives of the same man even see 
each other.^ After speaking of the marriage of half-brother 
and half-sister allowed among the ancient Arabs, Professor 
Robertson Smith remarks, " Whatever is the origin of bars 
to marriage, they certainly are early associated with the 
feeling that it is indecent for housemates to intermarry."* 

Most of the recorded instances of intermarriage of brother 
and sister refer to royal families, to the exclusion of others ; 
and there is no difficulty in accounting for incestuous unions 

* Curr, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 66. 

* Cf, Robertson Smith, loc, czL p. 169 ; Macdonald,'/ Oceania,' pp. 184, 
192, et seg, 

^ Kubary, loc, cit p. 62. * Robertson Smith, p. 170. 

- ^-Jt 


of this sort. Among lower races, as well as in Europe, it is 
considered improper for royal persons to contract marriage 
with persons of less exalted birth. But whilst European 
princes may go to some friendly Court for their consorts, a 
similar course is not open to African or Asiatic potentates. 

Incestuous unions may also take place on account of extreme 
isolation. So among the Karens of the Tenasserim Provinces,^ 
several of the small tribes of Brazil, and especially the 
Veddahs of Ceylon. Among the wild Veddahs, the different 
families are separated from each other by great distances, and 
it is only accidentally or occasionally that any others besides 
the members of one family are brought together. For the 
most part they shrink timidly from all human contact. ^ The 
reason for the practice of marrying a sister, says Professor 
Virchow, " was probably the same everywhere, in the royal 
families as with the naked Veddahs, the lack of suitable 
women, or of women altogether." ^ 

Certain instances of incestuous connection are evidently the 
results gf vitiated instincts, the origin of which we are not 
able to trace. It is a remarkable fact that several of the 
peoples among whom incestuous intercourse is said to be 
practised are, at the same time, expressly stated to indulge in 
bestiality or other unnatural vices.* This shows that their 
sexual feelings are altogether in a perverted state. 

Much stress has been laid by anthropologists on the few 
instances of peoples who habitually or occasionally contract 
unions which we should consider criminal. They have been 
taken for surviving types of the primitive condition of man, 
proving that " sentiments such as those which among ourselves 
restrain the sexual instincts are not innate."* But it is 

^ Heifer, in * Jour. As. Soc. Bengal/ vol. vii. p. 856. 

* Virchow, ' The Veddds of Ceylon,' in ' Jour. Roy. As. Soc. Ceylon 
Branch,' voL ix. pp. 355, 369. Hartshome, in * The Indian Antiquary,^ 
vol. viii. p. 320. 

' Virchow, in ' Jour. Roy. As. Soc. Ceylon Branch,' vol. ix. p. 370. 

* Annamese QankCyloca't p. 276), Kamchadales (Steller,/^r. cit. p. 289, 
note), Kaniagmuts (Bancroft, loc. cit, vol. i. pp. 81, ^/ seq^, 

* Spencer, * The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. pp. 606, et seq, Huth, 
he. cit. pp. 14, &c. Morgan, ' Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity,^ 
p. 480. Wilken, * Huwelijken tusschen bloedverwanten,' pp. 24, et seq. 


obvious that they prove nothing of the kind. Students of 
early history have often paid too much regard to exceptions, 
and too little to rules, overlooking the fact that there is no 
rule which has no exceptions. 

It may be objected that no feeling of incest exists among 
the lower animals. ^ According to Mr. Huth, incest " is con- 
stantly practised by animals, and habitually by those which 
are polygamous." * But, as we have previously seen, among 
species that live in families the young, without exception, 
leave the family as soon as they are able to shift for themselves ; 
and Mr.' Huth has adduced not the slightest evidence for his 
statement that " polygamy among animals means the closest 
incest." * 

The hypothesis here advocated can, I think, account for all 
the facts given in the last chapter. It explains how the 
horror of incest may be independent of experience as well as 
of education ; why the horror of incest refers not only to 
relations by blood,- but very frequently to persons not at all 
so related ; why the prohibitions of consanguineous mar- 
riages vary so considerably with regard to the prohibited 
degrees, applying, however, almost universally to persons who 
live in the closest contact with each other; and why these 
prohibitions are so commonly extended much farther on the 
one side, the paternal or the maternal, than on the other. 
The question now arises : — How has this instinctive aversion 
to marriage between persons living closely together originated ? 

We have seen that a certain degree of similarity as regards 
the reproductive system of two individuals is required to 
make their union fertile and the progeny resulting from this 
union fully capable of propagation. It might, then, be sup- 
posed that the highest degree of similarity must be the most 

* Mr. Cupples, however, observes that, among dogs, the male seems 
rather inclined towards strange females (Darwin, ' The Descent of Man,' 
vol. ii. p. 294) ; and I myself have been told by a thoroughly trustworthy 
person of a stallion that would not approach mares of the same stable. 
But such instincts seem to be exceptions at least among domesticated 

* Huth, loc. cit. p. 9. 3 Jifid,^ p. 9. 


beneficial ; but in all probability this is not the case. It 
seems to be necessary not only that the sexual elements which 
unite shall be somewhat like, but that they shall be in some 
way different. The similarity must not be too great. 

Mr. Darwin, by his careful studies on- the effects of cross- 
and self-fertilization in the vegetable kingdom, contributed 
more largely than any one else to the discovery of this law. 
He watched, from germination to maturity, more than a 
thousand individual plants, produced by crossing and self- 
fertilization, belonging to fifty-seven species, fifty-two genera, 
and thirty large families, and including natives of thfe most 
various countries.^ The result established by this research 
was, that cross-fertilization is generally beneficial, and self- 
fertilization injurious ; which is shown by the difference in 
height, weight, constitutional vigour, and fertility of the off- 
spring from crossed and self-fertilized flowers, and in the 
number of seeds produced by the parent-plants.- Hence, 
whenever plants which are the offspring of self-fertilization 
are opposed in the struggle for existence to the offspring of 
cross-fertilization, the latter have the advantage. And this 
follows, according to Mr. Darwin, from individuals of two dis- 
tinct kinds having been subjected during previous generations 
to different conditions, or to their having varied from some 
unknown cause in a manner commonly called spontaneous, 
because of that innate tendency to vary and to advance in 
organization which exists in all beings ; so that in either case 
their sexual elements have been in some degree differentiated.^ 

As for the animal kingdom, Mr. Darwin remarks that 
almost all who have bred many kinds of animals, and have 
written on the subject, have expressed the strongest convic- 
tion on the evil effects of close interbreeding.* " Indeed," 
says Sir J. Sebright, " I have no doubt but that, by this 
practice being continued, animals would, in course of time, 
degenerate to such a degree as to become incapable of breed- 
ing at all. ... I have tried many experiments by breeding 

1 Miiller, ' The Fertilisation of Flowers,' p. 8. 

2 Darwin, * The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable 
Kingdom,' p. 436. ^ Ibid.^ p. 443. 

^ Darwin, * Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii. p. 116. 


in-and-in upon dogs, fowls, and pigeons : the dogs became, 
from strong spaniels, weak and diminutive lap-dogs, the fowls 
became long in the legs, small in the body, and bad breeders."^ 
Mr. Huth, on the other hand, denies that breeding in-and-in, 
however close, has proved to be in itself hurtful, and quotes 
the evidence of numerous breeders whose choicest stocks have 
always been so bred. But in these cases, as Mr. Wallace 
remarks, " there has been rigid selection by which the weak 
or the infertile have been eliminated, and with such selection 
there is no doubt that the ill effects of close interbreeding 
can be prevented for a long time ; but this by no means 
proves that no ill effects are produced.'** The consensus of 
opinion on this point among eminent breeders is indeed 
overwhelming, and cannot be reasoned away. According to 
Crampe's experiments with the brown rat {Mus decumanus)y 
thirty-nine animals out of 153 born by related parents, /^., 25-5 
per cent., died soon after birth, whereas of 299 animals of parents 
not related this was the case with twenty-eight only, />., 8*4 per 
cent. The animals of incestuous broods were much smaller and 
lighter than others, and their fecundity was diminished.^ Mr. 
Huth himself observed, when breeding rabbits in-and-in, that 
" after the fourth generation there was a diminution of fecun- 
dity analogous to the disgust that the stomach would feel at 
the same diet long continued," though he found no evil effect 
in any other way. On the contrary, the in-and-in bred 
offspring were somewhat heavier than the non-related parent 
animals.* Professor Preyer has made a similar observation 
with regard to guinea-pigs : breeding in-and-in produced a 
considerable loss of fertility, but was accompanied with an in- 

^ Sebright, * The Art of Improving the Breeds of Domestic Animals,' 
pp. 12, et seq. 

* Wallace, * Darwinism,' p. 161. 

^ Crampe, * Zuchtversuche mit zahmen Wanderratten,' in ' Landwirth- 
schaftliche Jahrbiicher,' vol. xii. pp. 402, 409, 418 ; quoted by Diising, 
' Die Regulienmg des Geschlechtsverhaltnisses bei der Vermchnmg der 
Menschen, Tiere und Pflanzen,' p. 246. ' Die Kreuzungsproducte der 
Familien waren mit ihren Briidern, Vatern, Grossvatem imd Mestizen 
viel fruchtbarer, als die in Blutschande gezogenen Familien unter den- 
selben Verhaltnissen.' 

* Huth, loc. cit, pp. 286, et seq. 



crease of weight.^ This seems to indicate that the effects of 
close interbreeding are not always the same. 

There are certainly breeders who prefer connecting together 
the animals nearest allied in blood to one another. But, as 
Dr. Mitchell observes, "when breeding in-and-in has been 
practised with so-called good results, the issue is nothing but 
the development of a saleable defect, which, from the animal's 
point of view, must be regarded as wholly unnatural and 
artificial, and not calculated to promote its well-being or 
natural usefulness."* 

Many writers suppose that all the evils from close inter- 
breeding depend upon the combination and consequent 
increase of morbid tendencies common to both parents, the 
state of whose health decides whether union would be favour- 
able or not to the offspring. "If the parents are perfectly 
healthy," says M. Pouchet, " and exempt from all commencing 
degeneracy, they can only give birth to children at least 
as healthy as themselves. . . . But if the same degeneracy 
has already tainted both the parents, the offspring will show 
it in a greater degree, and will tend towards entire disappear- 
ance."* The same opinion is held by Sir John Sebright. 
But being, as an experienced breeder, well aware of the in- 
jurious results which almost always follow from interbreeding 
animals too closely, he adds that, according to his belief, 
there never did exist an animal without some defect, in con- 
stitution, in form, or in some other essential quality, or that 
at least a tendency to the same imperfection generally pre- 
vails in the same family.* 

Mr. Darwin, however, has shown it to be highly probable 
that, though the injury has often partly resulted from the 
combination of morbid tendencies, the general cause is 
different. Considering the number of self-fertilized plants 
that were tried, he thinks it is nothing less than absurd to 
suppose that in all these cases the mother-plants, though not 

^ Preyer, ' Specielle Physiologic des Embryo,' p. 8. 

* Mitchdl, ' Blood-Relationship in Marriage,' in * Memoirs Read before 
the Anthropological Society of London,' vol. ii. p. 451. 

3 Pouchet, loc. cit, p. 107, note *. 

* Sebright, loc, cit, pp. 11, et seq, 



appearing in any way diseased, were weak or unhealthy in so 
peculiar a manner that their self-fertilized seedlings, many 
hundreds in number, were rendered inferior in height, weight, 
constitutional vigour, and fertility to their crossed offspring.^ 
Moreover, self-fertilization and close interbreeding induce 
sterility, and this indicates something quite different from the 
augmentation of morbid tendencies common to both parents.* 
Hence it seems to be almost beyond doubt that, just as the 
sterility of distinct species when first crossed, and of their 
hybrid offspring, depends on their sexual elements having 
been differentiated in too great a degree, the evils of close 
interbreeding, or self-fertilization in plants, result chiefly 
from their sexual elements not having been sufficiently 
differentiated. But we do not know why a certain 
amount of differentiation is necessary or favourable for 
the fertilization or union of two organisms, any more than for 
the chemical affinity or^union of two substances.* It must, how- 
ever, be observed that no case of complete sterility is met within 
self-fertilized seedlings, as is so common with hybrids,* and 
that interbreeding even of the nearest relations may some- 
times, under very favourable circumstances, be continued 
through several generations without any evil results making 
their appearance. 

It is impossible to believe that a law which holds good for 
the rest of the animal kingdom, as well as for plants, does 
not apply to man also. But it is difficult to adduce direct 
evidence for the evil effects of consanguineous marriages. We 
cannot expect very conspicuous results from other alliances 
than those between the nearest relations — between brothers 
and sisters, parents and children. And the injurious results 
even of such unions would not necessarily appear at once. 
Sir J. Sebright remarks that there may be families of 
domestic animals which go through several generations 
without sustaining much injury from having been bred in- 
and-in,* and the offspring of self-fertilized plants do not 

* Darwin, ' Cross and Self Fertilisation,' p. 445. 

^ Idem^ ' Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. ii. p. 1 16. 
' /liem, ' Cross and Self Fertilisation,' p. 457. 

* fdt'd.f p. 465. * Sebright, /oc. cit, p. 12. 



always show any loss of vigour in the first generations. Man 
cannot, in this respect, be subjected to experiments like those 
tried in the case of other animals, and habitual intermarriage 
of the very nearest relations is, as we have seen, exceedingly 
rare. Mr. Adam argues that there is no proof of the physical 
deterioration of those divisions of mankind amongst whom 
incestuous unions are known more or less to have prevailed — 
as the Egyptians and Persians.^ But among these nations 
marriage certainly did not always take place between closely 
related persons ; and breeders of domestic animals inform us 
that the mixing-in even of a drop of unrelated blood is suffi- 
cient almost to neutralize the injurious effects of long con- 
tinued close interbreeding. Again, Mr. Huth asserts that, 
though the Ptolemies habitually married their sisters, nieces, 
and cousins, they were neither sterile nor particularly short- 
lived.* Mr. Galton, on the contrary, sees in Ptolemaic ex- 
perience a proof that close intermarriage is followed by 
sterility.' In ten marriages between brothers and sisters, 
uncles and nieces, or between first-cousins, the average number 
of children was not quite two, and three of the unions were 
entirely sterile.* 

The Veddahs of Ceylon are probably the most in-and-in 
bred people that ever existed. Among them, the practice of 
a man marrying his younger sister did not occur only 
occasionally ; according to Mr. Bailey, it was the proper 
marriage. Among the Bintenne Veddahs, it may be said to 
have been, for perhaps two generations or so, extinct, whilst, 
among those of Nilgala, it is at most only disappearing. Mr. 
Bailey believes that this practice is quite sufficient to account 
for the short stature as well as the weak and vacant expres- 
sion of this people. He did not find many traces of insanity, 
idiocy, and epilepsy — maladies which such marriages, accord- 
ing to a common belief, might be supposed to produce. 
•* But in other respects," he says, " the injurious effects of this 
custom would seem to be plainly discernible. The race is 
rapidly becoming extinct ; large families are all but unknown, 

* Adam, 'Consanguinity in Marriage,* in *The Fortnightly Review,' 
voL iii. p. 81. * Huth, loc. cit. p. 36. 

^ Galton, ' Hereditary Genius,' p. 152. * Huth, p. 37, note. 

Z 2 


  I    I .ii. -y I    I  I  ■■— ■^■ ■!■  I  -   »— — - , 

and longevity is very rare. I have been at some pains to 
obtain reliable data to elucidate these points. Out of 
seventy-two Veddahs in Nilgala, fifty were adults, and 
twenty-two children. In one small sept, or family, there 
were nine adults and one child ; in another, one child and 
eight adults ; and so on. In Bintenne, out of three hundred 
and eight Veddahs, a hundred and seventy-five were adults, 
and a hundred and thirty-three children. Here the dis- 
proportion is not so marked ; but in one of the smaller 
tribes, more isolated than the rest, there were twenty adults, 
and but four children. The paucity of children, I think, 
must be ascribed to the degeneracy produced by such close 
intermarriages, for I have never heard a suspicion of infanti- 
cide existing among them. Out of fifty adults in Nilgala, 
only one appeared to have numbered seventy years, and but 
eight to have exceeded fifty. In Bintenne, of a hundred 
and seventy-five adults, two only seemed to have reached 
their seventieth, and but fourteen to have exceeded their 
fiftieth year. Such statistics seem to show the practical 
results of such connections. The Nilgala Veddahs, who still 
maintain an almost total isolation from other people, are 
rapidly disappearing. The Veddahs of Bintenne, who have 
abandoned the pernicious custom which I have described, 
and still intermarry among themselves, are becoming extinct, 
though more gradually."^ 

With the exception of this case, the closest kind of 
intermarriage which we have opportunities of studying is 
that between first cousins. Unfortunately, the observations 
hitherto made on the subject are far from decisive. Several 
writers, as M. Pdrier, Dr. Voisin, and Mr. Huth, believe that 
there are no injurious results at all from those marriages, 
unless the parents are afflicted with the same hereditary 
morbid tendencies,* whilst others, as M. Devay and M. 
Boudin, express the most alarming opinions as to the bad 
effects of consanguineous marriages. Such alliances are sup- 
posed to bring evils of many different kinds upon a popu- 

* Bailey, in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. ii. pp. 294, 296. 
2 Pdrier, in * M^m. Soc. d'Anthr.,' vol. i. p. 223. Voisin, ' Contribution 
k I'histoire des manages entre consanguins,' t'did.f vol. ii. p. 447. 




lation, as sterility, idiocy, epilepsy, insanity, deaf-muteism, 
congenital malformations in the offspring, cretinism, albino- 
ism,^ &c. But how little the statements of the various writers 
agree with each other appears, for instance, from the fact 
that M. Boudin found the proportion of deaf-mutes bom in 
consanguineous marriages, in the Imperial Institution of 
Deaf-Mutes at Paris, to be 28*35 per cent., whereas, accord- 
ing to Dr. Mitchell, it amounts to 5*17 per cent in Scotch 
and English institutions.* 

As it is impossible to dwell here upon the investigations of 
the several writers, of which Mr. Huth has given so complete 
an account, I shall confine myself to a statement of the 
general results attained by those investigators who have 
founded their inquiries on a more trustworthy statistical 

Adopting a method different from that of his predecessors, 
Professor G. H. Darwin has endeavoured first to discover 
the proportion of consanguineous marriages in the whole 
population, and then to find out whether the offspring of 
those marriages exhibit a greater percentage of individuals, 
defective in one way or another, than the offspring of non- 
consanguineous marriages. His investigations tend decidedly 
to invalidate the exaggerated conclusions of many previous 
writers, but he thinks that " there are nevertheless grounds 
for asserting that various maladies take an easy hold of the 
offspring of consanguineous marriages." ' He did not find 
evidence that the marriage of first cousins had any effect in the 
production of infertility, deaf-muteism, insanity, or idiocy, but 
he observed a slightly lowered vitality amongst the offspring 
of first cousins, and a somewhat higher death-rate than 
amongst the families of non-consanguineous marriages.^ 
Moreover, the numbers of boating men belonging to the 
twenty boats at Oxford and thirty at Cambridge, in the first 
and second division, and those of selected athletes from some 


^ Huth, loc. cit ch. v. pp. 186-241. * Ibid,y^^, 217, 226. 

^ G. H. Darwin, ' Marriages between First Cousins in England,' in 
* The Fortnightly Review/ voL xviii. p. 41. 

* Idem^ * Marriages between First Cousins in England,' in ' Journal of 
the Statistical Society,' vol. xxxviii. pp. 181, 170, 182. 



schools in England, justified, to some extent, the belief 
" that offspring of first cousins are deficient physically, 
whilst at the same time they negative the views of alarmist 
writers on this subject/*^ It is curious that, in spite of such 
unambiguous statements, Mr. Darwin's paper has generally 
been quoted as an evidence of the perfect harmlessness of 
first cousin marriages. 

M. Stieda has found that, in the departments of France, the 
number of bodily or mentally infirm people increases almost 
constantly in proportion to the number of consanguineous 
marriages, as will be seen from the following table : — 

Number of 

oonsanguineons ^ Number of ^ 

Number of marriages io infirm people in 

Group. departnieots. each thousand each tiiousand 

marriages. inhabitants. 

I IO 5*4 2*3 

II IO 8*3 2-8 

in H 9*95 3 

IV IO 1 1*2 2'4 

V 13 125 2*8 

VI 8 13-8 3 

VII 14 158 3-5 

VIII 10 19*2 3*25 

I.— IV 44 9*2 2*65 

v.— VIII 45 148 3'i* 

. The Danish physician, Dr. Mygge, published in 1879 a 
book on * Marriage between Blood-Relations,' which unfor- 
tunately has received much less attention than it deserves.* 
Thanks to the trustworthiness of the method, the number of 
cases considered, and the author's impartiality, it is probably 
the most important statistical contribution hitherto issued on 
this subject. Dr. Mygge found, from the information he 
received from various parts of Denmark, that in that coimtry, 
or at least in the parishes of it which came under his obser- 
vation, there occur, among the children of related persons, 
comparatively more idiots, lunatics, epileptics, and deaf-mutes 

* Ideniy * Note on the Marriages of First Cousins,* ibid^y vol. xxxviii. ppu 


* Schmidt's * Jahrbiicher des gesammten Medicin/ vol. clxxxi. p. 89. 
3 It has escaped even Mr. Huth's keen observation. 


than among others. He considers it probable, too, though 
not proved, that such children die in a higher ratio and are 
more liable to certain diseases. But, on the other hand, he 
did not notice any perceptible difference in fertility between 
consanguineous and crossed marriages.^ 

In these inquiries. Dr. Mygge followed the method applied by 
the Norwegian physician Ludvig Dahl twenty years earlier. 
Through careful investigation of 246 marriages, eighty- five of 
which were between first cousins and four between still nearer 
relations, this inquirer was led to the conclusions that consan- 
guineous marriages are somewhat less fertile than crossed 
marriages ; that they produce comparatively many more still- 
bom and sickly children ; and that insanity, idiocy, deaf- 
dumbness, and epilepsy occur about eleven times as often \ 
among the offspring of relations, as among the offspring 
of unrelated parents. But he admitted that the numbers 
compared were too small to make his conclusions decisive.* 

These results are of course to a great extent conjectural. 
But it is noteworthy that, of all the writers who have 
discussed the subject, the majority, and certainly not the 
least able of them, have expressed their belief in marriages 
between first cousins being more or less unfavourable to the 
offspring.* And no evidence which can stand the test 
of scientific investigation has hitherto been adduced against 
this view. 

Some writers have, indeed, cited instances of communities 
where consanguineous marriages have occurred constantly 
without any evil effects having appeared. Thus the Pitcairn 
Island, uninhabited till the year 1790, was at that time 
peopled by nine white men, and six men and twelve women 
of Tahiti. In 1800 the population consisted of one man, five 
women, and nineteen children ; and the descendants of these 
persons are stated by later travellers to be strong and healthy 
without any traces of degeneration. Omitting whatever else 

1 Mygge, * Om Aegteskaber mellem Blodbeslaegtede,' pp. 162, 272. 

2 Dahl, * Bidrag til Kundskab om de Sindssyge i Norge,* pp. 99-102. 

3 Professor Mantegazza has given a list of fifty-seven authors who have 
opposed these marriages, and of fifteen who have defended them (* Jour. 
Statist. Soc.,' vol. xxxviii. p. 176). 


may be said against this case as evidence for the harmless- 
ness of consanguineous marriages, I need only call attention 
to the facts that, since the colonization of this island, a few 
strangers have joined the little colony ; that it was once 
removed to Norfolk Island, and that, of those who returned, 
one was a Norfolk Islander who had married a Pitcairn girl ; 
that the island has frequently been visited by ships with 
their crews ;^ and that, as Beechey expressly states, the same 
restrictions with regard to intermarriage of relations exist here 
as in England.* 

There are several isolated communities — in Java, Peru, 
Great Britain, France, Scandinavia, &c. — which intermarry 
solely among themselves without any evil effects being dis- 
cernible. An often -quoted case is the community of Batz 
(3.300 persons), situated near Croisic on a peninsula. The 
inhabitants of this community have been in the habit of closely 
intermarrying among themselves from time immemorial. 
Nevertheless, they are almost all very well in health without 
any hereditary affection. But Dr. Voisin observes, " Les con- 
ditions climat^riques de la commune de Batz, son voisinage de 
la mer, Thygiine et les habitudes de ses habitants, semblent 
s'accorder pour emp^cher la degdn^rescence de I'esp^ce et 
paraissent expliquer Tinnocuite des manages entre consan- 
g^ins qui s'y pratiquent depuis plusieurs siMes."* In other 
isolated communities the population is not so numerous, and 
the sanitary conditions are not perhaps so favourable ; but in 
any case we may say that this local endogamy is generally 
something quite different from marriage with near relations. 
Dr. Mitchell found that, in almost all the isolated communities 
along the coasts of Scotland, which had been given as in- 
stances of close interbreeding, such marriages were compara- 
tively rare. According to Dr. Mygge, the like is true of the 
population of Ly0 and Stryne in Denmark.* And Dr. Andrew 
Wood states, of the fisher-folk of Newhaven, that, though they 
keep themselves much segregated, they are very careful regard- 

* Huth, loc, ciL pp. 1 41 -1 43. 

' Beechey, loc, cii, vol. i. p. 86. 

' Voisin, in * M^m. Soc. d'Anthr.,' vol. ii. p. 447. 

* Mygge, loc, cit. p. 126. 


ing intermarriage, and look upon the union of relatives as an 
infringement of the laws of morality.^ 

Moreover, even if it could be proved that, in particular cases, 
close intermarrying, though continued for a long time, has 
been followed by no bad consequences, this would be no 
evidence that consanguineous marriages are as a rule innocuous. 
In some parishes of Denmark Dr. Mygge found no evil effects 
of such marrias:[es, whilst in others they were very conspicuous.^ 
And from the investigations of Mr. Darwin it appears that, 
notwithstanding the injury which most plants suffer from self- 
fertilization, a few have almost certainly been propagated in a 
state of nature for thousands of generations without having 
been once intercrossed. It is impossible to understand, he 
says, why some individuals even of the same species are sterile, 
whilst others are quite fertile, with their own pollen.* 

There is evidence that the bad consequences of self-fertili- 
zation and close interbreeding may almost fail to appear 
under favourable conditions of life. In-and-in bred plants, 
when allowed enough space and good soil, frequently show 
little or no deterioration ; whereas, when placed in competition 
with another plant, they often perish or are much stunted.* 
Crampe's experiments with brown rats proved that the breed- 
ing in-and-in was much less injurious, if the offspring of the 
related parents were well fed and taken care of, than it 
was otherwise.* And this is in striking accordance with 
Dr. Mitchell's observations as to consanguineous marriages 
in Scotland. The results there appear to be least grave, and 
are frequently almost «//, if the parents and children live in 
tolerable comfort, without anxiety or much thought for the 
morrow, and easily earning enough to procure good food and 
clothing — in short, when they work, but do not struggle for 
existence. On the other hand, when they are " poor, pinched 
for food, scrimp of clothing, badly housed, and exposed to 
misery ; when they have to toil and struggle for the bare 

* ' Edinburgh Medical Journal,' vol. vii. pt. ii. p. 876. 
Mygge, loc. cit p. 171. 

Darwin, * Cross and Self Fertilisation,' pp. 439, 458. 

* Ibtd,y p. 439. G. H. Darwin, in *Jour. Statist. Soc.,' vol. xxxviii. 
p. 175' * Quoted by Diising, he, cit. p. 249. 


necessaries of life — never having enough for to-day .and being 
always fearful of to-morrow," — the evil may become very 

If this is the case, we must expect to find that consan- 
guineous marriages are much more injurious in savage regions, 
where the struggle for existence is often very severe, than 
they have proved to be in civilized society, especially as it is 
among the well-off classes that such marriages occur most 
frequently.^ In England, according to Mr. G. H. Darwin, 
cousin-marriages among the aristocracy are probably 4^ per 
cent. ; among the middle and upper middle class, or among 
the landed gentry, 3^ per cent. ; but in Lbndon, comprising 
all classes, they are probably only i^ per cent.* He thinks 
that the slightness of the evils which he found to result 
from first-cousin marriages perhaps depends upon the fact 
that a large majority of Englishmen live under what are on 
the whole very favourable circumstances.* We must also, 
however, remember that there has been a great mixture of 
races in Europe, and that this necessarily makes marriage of 
kinsfolk less injurious, .so far as the evil results of such unions 
depend upon too great a likeness between the sexual elements. 

The conclusion that closely related marriages produce 
more destructive effects among savage than civilized peoples, 
derives perhaps some additional probability from certain 
ethnological facts. These facts may, at least, serve to show 
that such marriages, and the experience of isolated communi- 
ties, are not everywhere in favour of Mr. Huth's conclusions. 
Several statements on the subject have, indeed, scarcely any 
value as direct evidence for the harmfulness of consanguine- 
ous marriages, but to two or three considerable weight must 
be attached. 

According to v. Martins, who is a great authority on 
Brazilian ethnography, it is a well-established fact, observed 
everywhere, that the smaller and more isolated of the Indian 
communities, scarcely any members of which marry members 

* Mitchell, in * Mem. Anthr. Soc.,' vol. ii. p. 447. 

^ C/, Devay, * Du danger des manages consanguins,' p. 10. 
3 G. H. Darwin, in * Jour. Statist. Soc.,' vol. xxxviii. p. 163. 

* Idz'ii., pp. iJSyCt seq. 


•of other communities, are much more liable to every kind of 
deterioration than the larger groups.^ " It is probable," Mr. 
Bates, another most capable judge, remarks with reference to 
the savage tribes on the Upper Amazons, " that the strange 
inflexibility of the Indian organization, both bodily and 
mental, is owing to the isolation in which each small tribe has 
lived, and to the narrow round of life and thought, and close 
intermarriages for countless generations, which are the 
necessary results. Their fecundity is of a low degree, for it 
is very rare to find an Indian family having so many as four 
children, and we have seen how great is their liability to 
sickness and death on removal from place to place.*'^ Touch- 
ing the Isdnna Indians, Mr. Wallace asserts that they are said 
not to be nearly so numerous, nor to increase so rapidly, as 
the Uaup^s ; which may perhaps be owing to their marrying 
with relations, while the latter prefer strangers.* And 
v. Tschudi supposes that the low fecundity of the Botocudos 
is caused by their endogamous habits ; for when their women 
marry out of their own horde, especially with whites or 
negroes, they are generally very fertile.^ 

The Calidonian Indians of the Isthmus of Darien, according 
to Mr. Gisborne, are bound never to cross the breed with 
foreigners ; hence intermarriage is very constant, and, as he 
remarks, the race degenerates.^ The Pueblos in New Mexico, 
too, are said to deteriorate because of their constant inter- 
marriage in the same village.® "Various causes," says 
Barrow, " have contributed to the depopulation of the 
Hottentots. The impolitic custom of hording together in 
families, and of not marrying out of their own kraals> 
has no doubt tended to enervate this race of men, and 
reduced them to their present degenerated condition, 
which is that of a languid, listless, phlegmatic people, in 
whom the prolific powers of nature seem to be almost 

' V. Martius, loc, cit vol. i. p. 334. 

^ Bates, loc, ciL vol. ii. pp. 199, et seq, 

^ Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 508. 

* V. Tschudi, loc, ciL vol. ii. p. 284. 

* Gisborne, * The Isthmus of Darien,' p. 155. 
^ Davis, ' El Gringo,* p. 146. 


exhausted. To this may be added their extreme poverty, 
scantiness of food, and continual dejection of mind." Few of 
the women have more than two or three children, and many 
of them are barren. But this is not the case when a Hottentot 
woman is connected with a white man. " The fruit of such an 
alliance," says Barrow, " is not only in general numerous, but 
they are beings of a very different nature from the Hottentot"^ 

In too early marriages, the licentious habits of both sexes, 
and the intermarriage of near relatives, the Rev. J. Sibree finds 
the causes of the infertility of the women of Madagascar.^ 
Among the Garos, the chiefs have, in comparison with the 
lower classes, degenerated physically, and Colonel Dalton is 
inclined to think that this degeneration is a result of close 
interbreeding.* The Lundu Sea Dyaks, according to Sir 
Spenser St. John, have decreased greatly in numbers — from 
a thousand families to ten. "They coniplain bitterly/* he 
says, ** that they have no families, that their women are not 
fertile ; indeed, there were but three or four children in the 
whole place. The men were fine-looking and the women 
well-favoured and healthy — remarkably clean and free from 
disease. We could only account for their decreasing numbers 
by their constant intermarriages."* 

Of no little interest to us are the Todas of the Neilgherry 
Hills. Mr. Marshall remarks that, among them, relationship 
is intimate far beyond that witnessed in any country approach- 
ing civilization — " intimate to such a degree, that the whole 
tribe, where not parents and children, brothers and sisters, are 
all first cousins, descended from lines of first cousins prolonged 
for centuries." The tribe consists of about 713 persons, 
grouped in five clans, of which two are almost extinct The 
remaining three clans, being nearly of equal number, con- 
tain about 200 members of all ages each. But one of them 
— the Peiki clan — marries solely within itself; so that inter- 
marriage among this small body of 200 people has been prac- 
tised from time immemorial.* As regards the general appear- 
ance of the people, a large proportion of both sexes and of 

* Barrow, loc, cit vol. i. pp. 144, 147. 

2 Sibree, loc, cit, p. 248. ^ Dalton, loc, cit p. 66. 

* St. John, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 10. * MarshaU, loc. cit, pp. 110, et seq. 


all ages are doubtless in excellent health, and their fecundity, 
according to Dr. Shortt, is by no means of a low degree.^ 
Nevertheless, the Todas are dying out. In infancy the 
mortality is so great that, as a rule, there is in each family only 
a small number of children.* " It is rarely that there are 
more than two or three children," says the missionary Metz, 
" and it is not at all an uncommon thing to find only a single 
child, while many families have none at all." The numbers of 
the Todas have, consequently, for years past been gradually 
declining, and probably the time is not far distant when they 
will have passed away.* Of course, we do not know whether 
this depends upon their close intermarriages, but there is, at 
any rate, some reason to suspect that this is the case. That 
the intermarrying has not produced more evil effects on the 
population, may possibly be owing to the wealth for which the 
Neilgherry Hills are remarkable, and to their climate, which, 
for mildly invigorating properties and equable seasonal changes 
throughout the year, is perhaps unrivalled anywhere within 
the tropics.* 

Another very much in-and-in bred people are the Persians. 
Among them, husband and wife are generally of the same 
family, and very often cousins. Yet Dr. Polak, who has lived in 
Persia for nine years, partly as a teacher in the medical 
school of Teheran, partly as physician to the Shah, and 
during this residence has had excellent opportunities of 
acquainting himself with the conditions of the people, has not 
observed that the diseases which are supposed to result from 
consanguineous marriage prevail more frequently there than 
elsewhere. Nor has he found that the Persian women are 
generally less fertile than others. Yet the families are 
exceedingly small, as the mortality among children is enorm- 
ous. Of six, perhaps two, as a rule, survive, but very often 
none at all, most of them dying in their second year. Dr. 
Polak believes, indeed, that, on an average, scarcely more 
than one living child comes to each woman. A princess in 
Teheran was looked upon quite as a wonder because she had 

} Shortt, in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. vii. p. 254. 

* /did., p. 254. 3 Metz, ioc. cit, p. 15. 

* Shortt, in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. vii. p. 233. 


eight children alive, and the European physician was asked 
if he ever before, in his own country, had seen a similar 

More important than any of these statements is the follow- 
ing testimony concerning the Karens of Burma, for which I 
am indebted to the Rev. Dr. Alonzo Bunker, who has been a 
resident among that people during more than twenty years. 
He says that, in some of their villages, exogamy prevails, in 
others endogamy, but marriages between parents and children, 
brothers and sisters, are prohibited everywhere, and even 
first cousins very seldom marry, though there is no law 
against such connections. There is a striking difference with 
regard to stature, health, strength, and fecundity, between the 
inhabitants of the exogamous and those of the endogamous 
villages, the latter being much inferior in all these respects. 
Dr. Bunker has no doubt that this inferiority is owing to the 
intermarriage of kinsfolk, and he asserts that even the natives 
themselves ascribe it to this cause, though they obstinately 
keep up the old custom, regarding marriages out of their own 
village as highly unbecoming. In cases in which missionaries 
have been able to persuade young men to choose wives from 
another village, Dr. Bunker assures me that the good effects 
of a cross appeared at once.^ 

There are some other peoples who ascribe evil results to 
close intermarriage. Mr. Cousins informs me that the Cis- 
Natalian Kafirs believe " that their offspring would be of a 
more sickly nature if such were allowed " ; and Mr. Eyles 
writes that the Zulus, on the border of Pondoland, regard 
sterility and deformity as consequences of consanguineous 
unions. The Australian Dieyerie, according to Mr. Gason, 
have a tradition that, after the creation, fathers, mothers, 
sisters, brothers, and others of the closest kin intermarried 
promiscuously, until the bad effects of these marriages became 
manifest. A council of the chiefs was then assembled to 
consider in what way the evil might be averted, and the 

* Polak, loc, cit vol. i. pp. 200, 201, 216, ^Z seq, 

* Dr. Heifer also thinks (* Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. vii. p. 856) that, 
among the Karens of the Tenasserim Provinces, close intermarrying is 
the reason why ** they are a subdued, timid, effeminate, diminishing race." 


result of their deliberations was a petition to the Muramura, 
or Good Spirit. In answer to this he ordered that the tribe 
should be divided into branches, and distinguished one from 
the other by different names, after objects animate and in- 
animate, such as dogs, mice, emu, rain, and so forth, and 
that the members of any such branch should be forbidden to 
marry other members of the same branch.^ Again, touching 
the Kenai, in the north-western part of North America, 
Richardson states, " It was the custom that the men of one 
stock should choose their wives from another, and the off- 
spring belonged to the race of the mother. This custom has 
fallen into disuse, and marriages in the same tribe occur ; but 
the old people say that mortality among the Kenai has 
arisen from the neglect of the ancient usage." ^ 

In a Greenland Eskimo tale, the father of Kakamak, find- 
ing that all his grandchildren have died before reaching the age 
of puberty, suggests to his son-in-law, " Perhaps we are too near 
akin." * Two Mohammedan travellers of the ninth century 
tell us that the Hindus never married a relation, because 
they thought alliances between unrelated persons improved 
the offspring.* In Hadtth, the collection of Mohammedan 
traditions, it is said, " Marry among strangers ; thus you will 
not have feeble posterity," **This view," says Goldziher, 
" coincides with the opinion of the ancient Arabs that the 
children of endogamous marriages are weakly and lean. To 
this class also belongs the proverb of Al-Meyddni, *. . . 
Marry the distant, marry not the near ' (in relationship)." A 
poet, praising a hero, says, " He is a hero, not borne by the 
cousin (of his father), he is not weakly ; for the seed of 
relations brings forth feeble fruit." ^ 

In opposition to the view that these opinions are the 
results of experience, it may be urged that any infraction of 
the customs or laws of ancestors is commonly thought to 

^ Gason, loc, cit, pp. 260, et seq. 

2 Richardson, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 406. 

' Rink, ' Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo,' pp. 390, et seq, 

* Reich, loc. ciL pp. 210, ^/ seq, 

* Goldziher, in * The Academy,* vol. xviii. p. 26. Cf, Wilken, * Das 
Matriarchat bei den alten Arabern,' p. 61 ; Robertson Smith, loc, ciL p. 60. 


call down divine vengeance. Father Veniaminof tells us 
that, among the early Aleuts, incest, which was considered 
the gravest crime, was believed to be always followed by the 
birth of monsters with walrus-tusks, beard, and other dis- 
figuration ;^ and among the Kaiirs, according to Mr. Fynn, it 
is a general belief that the offspring of an incestuous union 
will be a monster — '* a punishment inflicted by the ancestral 
spirit." * But whatever may be said of the other cases referred 
to, no such explanation can possibly hold good for the Arabs. 
Among them, marriage with a near relation involved no in- 
fringement of their marriage regulations. On the contrary, 
in spite of the opinions in favour of exogamy, the preference 
for marriage with a cousin was dominant among them, and 
a man had even a right to the hand of his "bint 'amm,** 
the daughter of a paternal uncle.^ 

Taking all these facts into consideration, I cannot but 
believe that consanguineous marriages, in some way or other, 
are more or less detrimental to the species. And here, I 
think, we may find a quite sufficient explanation of the horror 
of incest ; not because man at an early stage recognized the 
injurious influence of close intermarriage, but because the law 
of natural selection must inevitably have operated. Among 
the ancestors of man, as among other animals, there was no 
doubt a time when blood-relationship was no bar to sexual 
intercourse. But variations, here as elsewhere, would naturally 
present themselves ; and those of our ancestors who avoided 
in-and-in breeding would survive, while the others would 
gradually decay and ultimately perish. Thus an instinct 
would be developed which would bepowerful enough, as a rule, 
to prevent injurious unions. Of course it would display itself 
simply as an aversion on the part of individuals to union with 
others with whom they lived ; but these, as a matter of fact, 
would be blood-relations, so that the result would be the 
survival of the fittest 

Whether man inherited the feeling from the predecessors 
from whom he sprang, or whether it was developed after 

* Petroff, loc, cit p. 155. * Shooter, loc, ciL p. 45. 

3 Goldziher, in ' The Academy,' vol. xviii. p. 26. Robertson Smith,p. 82. 

BBW—T .^ ^-, - .  ^. , ,^_ ^fc^^t* 


the evolution of distinctly human qualities, we do not know. 
It must necessarily have arisen at a stage when family ties 
became comparatively strong, and children remained with 
their parents until the age of puberty, or even longer. Exo- 
gamy, as a natural extension of this instinct, would arise 
when single families united in ^mall hordes. It could not 
but grow up if the idea of union between persons intimately 
associated with one another was an object of innate repug- 
nance. There is no real reason why we should assume, as so 
many anthropologists have done,^ that primitive men lived in 
small endogamous communities, practising incest in every 
degree. The theory does not accord with what is known of 
the customs of existing savages ; and it accounts for no facts 
which may not be otherwise far more satisfactorily explained. 
The objection will perhaps be made that the aversion to 
sexual intercourse between persons living very closely together 
from early youth is too complicated a mental phenomenon to 
be a true instinct, acquired through spontaneous variations 
intensified by natural selection. But there are instincts just 
as complicated as this feeling, which, in fact, only implies 
that disgust is associated with the idea of sexual intercourse 
between persons who have lived in a long-continued, intimate 
relationship from a period of life at which the action of de- 
sire is naturally out of the question. This association is no 
matter of course, and certainly cannot be explained by 
the mere liking for novelty. It has all the characteristics of 
a real, powerful instinct, and bears evidently a close resemb- 
lance to the aversion to sexual intercourse with individuals 
belonging to another species. 

Besides the horror of incest, there is another feeling to 
which reference may here be made. " L'amour," says Ber- 
nardin de Saint-Pierre, " . . . ne r^sulte que des contrastes ; 
et plus ils sont grands, plus il a d'^nergie. C'est ce que je 
pourrois prouver par mille traits d'histoire. . . . L'influence 
des contrastes en amour est si certaine, qu'en voyant Tamant 
on peut faire le portrait de Tobjet aim^ sans Tavoir vu, pourvu 

* For instance, Mr. Morgan (* Systems,* &c., pp. 479, et seq.) and Pro- 
fessor Wilken (in ' De Indische Gids,' 1881, vol. ii. p. 622). 

A A 


qu'on sache seulement qu'il est affect^ d'une forte passion."^ 
Schopenhauer likewise observes that every person requires 
from the individual of the opposite sex a one-sidedness which 
is the opposite of his or her own. The most manly man 
will seek the most womanly woman, and vice versd. Weak 
or little men have a decided inclination for strong or big 
women, and strong or big women for weak or little men. 
Blondes prefer dark persons, or brunettes ; snub-nosed per- 
sons, hook-nosed ; persons with excessively slim, long bodies 
and limbs, those who are stumpy and short ; and so on.* 
A similar view is held by M. Prosper Lucas, Mr. Alexander 
Walker, Professor Mantegazza, Mr. Grant Allen, and other 
writers.® " In the love of the sexes," says Professor Bain, 
" the charm of disparity goes beyond the standing differences 
of sex ; as in contrasts of complexion, and of stature."* 

Some writers have suggested that love thus excited by 
differences is favourable to fecundity, those marriages in 
which it exists being more prolific than others.^ Thus Mr. 
Andrew Knight, a most experienced breeder, remarks, '* I am 
disposed to think that the most powerful human minds will 
be found offspring of parents of different hereditary consti- 
tutions. I prefer a male of a different colour from the breed 
of the female, where that can be obtained, and I think that 
I have seen fine children produced in more than one instance, 
where one family has been dark and the other fair. I am 
sure that I have witnessed the bad effects of marriages 
between two individuals very similar to each other in charac- 
ter and colour, and springing from ancestry of similar charac- 
ter. Such have appeared to me to be like marriages between 
brothers and sisters."^ 

These statements, of course, prove nothing, cut they may 

1 Bemardin de Saint-Pierre, * £tudes de la nature/ vol. i.V- 94- 

* Schopenhauer, 'The World as Will and Idea,' vol. iii. p*^ 35^359- 

3 Lucas, * Traitd de lli^r^dit^ naturelle,' vol. ii. p. 238 : \La loi dc 

237, et seg, ■* Bain, loc, ciL p. j ^6. ' 

^ Lucas, vol. ii. p. 238. Walker, * Intermarriage,* p. 124, N^ 

8 Quoted by Walker, p. 118. \ 




perhaps derive some value from the fact that they are made 
by so many different observers. The statistical investigation 
of Professor Alphonse de CandoUe, bearing upon the same 
question, rests on firmer ground. He has found, from facts 
collected in Switzerland, North Germany, and Belgium, that 
marriages are most commonly contracted between persons 
with different colours of the eye, except in the case of brown- 
eyed women, who are generally considered more attractive 
than others.^ He has noted, further, that the number of 
children is considerably smaller in families where the parents 
have the same colour of the eye than where the reverse is 
the case.^ But Professor Wittrock could not, in Sweden, find 
any such difference in fecundity between the two categories 
of marriages f and Mr. Galton observes, " Whatever may be 
the sexual preferences for similarity or for contrast, I find 
little indication in the average results obtained from a fairly 
large number of cases, of any single measurable personal 
peculiarity, whether it be stature, temper, eye-colour, or 
artistic tastes, influencing marriage selection to a notable 

If contrasts instinctively seek each other, this may partly 
account for the readiness with which love awakens love. 
Every one knows some unhappy lover who has never been 
able to win the heart of the person he adores ; but in most 
cases, I should say, love is mutual. And this, perhaps, is 
owing not only to the contagiousness of the passion, but 
also to the attractive power of contrasts, which acts equally 
upon both parties. Thus we might explain, to some extent, 
the extreme variation of tastes, and the fact that, besides the 
general standard of beauty common to the whole race, there 
exists a more detailed ideal special to each individual. 

' Schopenhauer also says {/oc. ciL vol. iii. p. 358), ' Blondes prefer dark 
persons, or brunettes; but the latter seldom prefer the former. The 
reason is, that fair hair and blue eyes are in themselves a variation from 
the type, are almost abnormal, being analogous to white mice, or at least 
to grey horses.' 

' de Candolle, ' H^r^dit^ de la couleur des yeux dans I'esp^ce humaine,' 
in * Archives des sciences physiques et naturelles,' ser. iii. vol. xii. ; 
\ quoted in * Ymer,* vol. v. p. viii. 

^ * Ymer,' vol. v. p. ix, * Galton, * Natural Inheritance,' p. 85. 

A A 2 




Sexual love is the passion which unites the sexes. The 
stimulating impressions produced by health, youth, and 
beauty, and ornaments and other artificial means of attrac- 
tion, are all elements of this feeling. The antipathy to 
sexual intercourse with individuals of another species, and 
the horror of incest, belong to the same phenomenon. But 
the psychology of love is by no means exhausted by this. 
" Simple et primitif comme toutes les forces colossales," says 
Professor Mantegazza, " Tamour paralt pourtant form6 des 
^16ments de toutes les passions humaines."^ Around the 
sexual appetite as the leading element there are aggregated 
many different feelings, such as admiration, pleasure of pos- 
session, love of freedom, self-esteem, and love of approbation.* 
A complete analysis of love would fill a volume. Here I 
shall discuss only one of the most important elements of this 
highly compound feeling, the sentiment of affection. 

In the lower stages of human development sexual affec- 
tion is much inferior in intensity to the tender feelings 

^ Mantegazza, ' Physiologie du plaisir,' p. 243. 

' Spencer, * The Principles of Psychology,' vol. i. pp. 487, et seq. Bain, 
loc. ciL p. 136. Dr. Duboc remarks (' Die Psychologie der Licbe,' p. 14), 
' £s giebt keine inhaltvoUere und triumphirendere Beseligung der eignen 
Selbstliebe als von dem iiber alle Anderen emporgetragen zu werden, 
den wir selbst hoher wie alle Anderen erblicken, als von dem ausge- 
zeichnet zu werden, der uns selbst mit alien Auszeichnungen gescbraiickt 


with which parents embrace their children ; and among 
several peoples it seems to be almost unknown. Thus, 
speaking of the Hovas in Madagascar, Mr. Sibree says 
that, among them, until the spread of Christianity, there 
was " no lack of strong affection between blood-relations — 
parents and children, brothers and sisters, grandparents and 
grandchildren ; but the marriage state was regarded chiefly 
as a matter of mutual convenience," the idea of love between 
husband and wife being hardly thought of ^ Among those 
Amazulus who are still unaffected by civilization, true 
love in marriage is stated to be very rare.* At Winnebah, 
according to Mr. Duncan, "not even the appearance of 
affection exists between husband and wife ; " and almost the 
same is asserted by M. Sabatier with reference to the 
Kabyles.* Munzinger says that, among the Beni-Amer, it is 
considered even disgraceful for a wife to show any affec- 
tion for her husband.* The Chittagong Hill tribes, accord- 
ing to Captain Lewin, have " no idea of tenderness, nor of 
chivalrous devotion." Marriage is among them regarded 
as merely a convenient and animal connection.* Touching 
the Hawaiians, Wilkes says, " I should not be inclined to 
believe there is much natural affection among them ; nor is 
there apparently any domestic happiness."® In the island of 
Ponap6, according to Dr. Finsch, love in our sense of the 
term is entirely unknown.^ As regards the Eskimo of New- 
foundland, Heriot asserts, "Like all other men in the 
savage state, they treat their wives with great coldness and 
neglect, but their affection towards their offspring is lively and 
tender."® In Greenland, a man thought nothing of beating 
his wife, but it was a heinous offence for a mother to chastise 
her children.® Almost the same is said of the Kutchin 
by Mr. Jones, and of the Eskimo of Norton Sound by 

* Sibree, loc. cit, p. 250. " Fritsch, loc. cit. p. 142. 

3 Duncan, ' Travels in Western Africa,' vol. i. p. 79. Sabatier, ' l^tude 
sur la femme Kabyle,* in ' Revue d' Anthropologic,' ser. ii. vol. vi. p. 58. 

* Munzinger, ioc, cit, p. 325. 

* Lewin, loc, cit, p. 345. * Wilkes, loc, cit, vol. iv. p. 45. 
7 Finsch, in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. xii. p. 317. 

* Heriot, loc. dt. p. 25. • Egede, loc. cit. p. 144. 


Mr. Dall.i According to Mr. Morgan, the refined passion 
of love is unknown to the North American Indiana in 

Such statements, however, may easily be misleading. The 
love of a savage is certainly very different from the love of a 
civilized man ; nevertheless, we may discover in it traces of 
the same ingredients. There are facts which tend to show 
that even very rude savages may have conjugal affection ; 
nay, that among certain uncivilized peoples it has reached a 
remarkably high degree of development. 

Among the wretched Bushmans, according to Mr. Chap- 
man, there is love in all their marriages.* Among the 
Touaregs, there is a touch of almost chivalrous sentiment 
in the relations between men and women : friend and lady 
friend, they say, are for the eye and heart, not only for passion, 
as among the Arabs.* And, regarding the man-eating 
Niam-Niam, Dr. Schweinfurth asserts that they display an 
affection for their wives which is unparalleled among other 
natives of an equally low grade.^ 

The Hos are good husbands and wives, and, although they 
have no terms in their own language to express the higher 
emotions, " they feel them all the same."^ The missionary 
Jellinghaus found tokens of affectionate love between married 
people among the Munda Kols, Sir Spenser St. John among 
the Sea Dyaks, Mr. Man among the Andamanese, M. Bink 
occasionally among the natives of New Guinea.^ In New 
Caledonia, says M. Moncelon, " Tamour existe, et j*ai vu des 
suicides par amour."® In Samoa, stories of affectionate love 
between husband and wife are preserved in song.'* In Tonga, 
according to Mariner, most of the women were much attached 

' Jones, in 'Smith. Rep.,' 1866, p. 326. Dall, loc, ciL p. 139. 

* Morgan, * Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity,' p. 207, note. Cf, 
Schoolcraft, loc, cit. vol. v. p. 272 (Creeks). 

^ Chapman, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 258. 

* Chavanne, ' Die Sahara,' pp. 208, et seq. 

* Schweinfurth, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 510. • Dalton, loc, ciL p 206. 
7 Jellinghaus, in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. iii. p. 369. St. John, loc, cit, 

vol. i. pp. 54, et seq. Man, in ' Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xii. p. 327. Bink, 
in ' Bull. Soc. d' Anthr.,* ser. iii, voL xi, p. 396. 

* Moncelon, ibid^y ser. iii. vol. ix. p. 366. ^ Turner, * Samoa,' p. 102. 



to their husbands;^ and in Fiji, says Dr. Seemann, "even 
wid<5wers, in the depth of their grief, have frequently 
terminated their existence, when deprived of a dearly beloved 
wife."* In several of the Australian tribes, married people 
are often much attached to each other, and continue to be so 
even when they grow old.* Concerning the aborigines of 
Victoria, Daniel Bunce says it is an error to suppose that 
there exists no settled love or lasting affection between the 
sexes; among the Narrinyeri, Mr. Taplin has known as well- 
matched and loving couples as he has among Europeans ; 
and, according to Mr. Bonney, husband and wife, among the 
natives of the River Darling, rarely quarrel, and " they show 
much affection for each other in their own way."* 

Among the Eskimo of the north-east coast of North 
America, visited by Lyon, " young couples are frequently 
seen rubbing noses, their favourite mark of affection, with an 
air of tenderness."* The Tacullies, as Harmon informs us, 
are remarkably fond of their wives.® And Mr. Catlin goes 
even so far as to deny that the North American Indians are 
" in the least behind us in conjugal, in filial, and in paternal 
affection,"^ — a statement with which Mr. Morgan's does not 
agree. Mr. Brett asserts that, among the natives of Guiana, 
instances of conjugal attachment are very frequent, except 
where polygyny is practised.® Azara found tokens of it 
among the Pampas;® and the rude Fuegians are said to " show 
a good deal of affection for their wives." ^^ 

It is, indeed, impossible to believe that there ever was a 

* Martin, loc, ciL vol. ii. pp. 171, ^/ seq, 

* Seemann, ' Viti,' pp. 193, et seq. 

' Brough Smyth, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 283. Bonwick, in *Jour. Anthr. 
Inst./ vol. xvi. p. 205. Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit. vol. vi. pp. 775, 781. 
Dawson, loc, cit. p. 37. Lumholtz, loc, cit, pp. 213, ^/ seq, 

* Brough Smyth, vol. i. p. 29. Taplin, loc, cit. p. 12. Bonney, in 
'Jour. Anthr. Inst./ vol. xiii. p. 129. 

* Lyon, loc, cit, p. 353. Cf, Nansen, loc, cit, vol. ii. pp. 325, et seq. 

* Harmon, loc, cit. p. 292. Cf. Keating, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 157 (Chippe- 
was). ' Catlin, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 121. 

* Brett, loc. cit, pp. 98, 351. ^ Azara, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 44. 

*<* Weddel, ' Voyage towards the South Pole,' p. 156. Hyades, in * Bull. 
Soc. d' Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. x. p. 334. 


time when conjugal affection was entirely wanting in the 
human race. Though originally of far less intensity than 
parental love, especially on the mother's side, as being of less 
importance for the existence of the species, yet it seems, in 
its most primitive form, to have been as old as marriage itself. 
It must be a certain degree of affection that induces the male 
to defend the female during her period of pregnancy ; but 
often it is the joint care of the offspring, more than anything 
else, that makes the married couple attached to each other. 
With reference to the Dacotahs, Mr. Prescott remarks that, 
"as children increase, the parents appear to be more affec- 

Of course it is impossible to suppose that mutual love can 
generally be the motive which leads to marriage when the 
wife is captured or purchased from a foreign tribe. In the 
main, Mr. Hall's assertion as to the Eskimo visited by him, 
that "love — if it come at all — comes after the marriage,"^ 
holds good for many savage peoples. Among the Austra- 
lians, for instance, according to Mr. Brough Smyth, love has 
often no part in the preparations for marriage. " The bride 
is dragged from her home — she is unwilling to leave it ; and 
if fears are entertained that she will endeavour to escape, a 
spear is thrust through her foot or her leg. A kind husband 
will, however, ultimately evoke affection, and fidelity and true 
love are not rare in Australian families."* 

The affection accompanying the union of the sexes has 
gradually developed in proportion as altruism in general has 
increased. Thus love has only slowly become the refined feeling 
it is in the heart of a highly civilized European. In Eastern 
countries with their ancient civilization there exists even now 
but little of that tenderness towards the woman which is the 
principal charm of our own family life. In China, up to 
recent times, the position of women was abominable ; it was 
considered " good form " for a man to beat his wife, and, if the 
Chinaman of humble rank spared her a little, he did so only in 
order not to come under the necessity of buying a successor.* 

* Schoolcraft, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 236. * Hall, he, cit, p. 568. 
3 Brough Smyth, loc, cit, voL i. p. xxiv. 

* Katscher, loc. cit. pp. 58, et seq. 


In Hindu families, according to Dubois, concord, the union of 
minds, and sincere mutual friendship are rarely met with, 
" It is in vain," he says, " to expect, between husband and 
wife, that reciprocal confidence and kindness which constitute 
the happiness of a family. The object for which a Hindu 
marries is not to gain a companion to aid him in enduring 
the evils of life, but a slave to bear children and be subser- 
vient to his rule/*^ The love of which the Persian poets sing 
has either a symbolic or a very profane meaning, always im- 
plying the idea of sexual intercourse.* Among the Arabs, 
says Burckhardt, " the passion of love is, indeed, much talked 
of by the inhabitants of towns ; but I doubt whether any- 
thing is meant by them more than the grossest animal 
desire."* Even in Greece, according to some authorities, the 
love of the sexes was little more than sexual instinct* 

It is also obvious that marriage cannot be contracted from 
affection where the young women before marriage are kept 
quite apart from the men, as is done in Eastern countries. 
In China it often happens that the parties have not even seen 
each other till the wedding-day ; and, in Greece, custom was 
scarcely less rigorous in this respect.** In vain Plato urged 
that young men and women should be more frequently per- 
mitted to meet one another, so that there should be less 
enmity and indifference in the married life.® Plutarch hopes 
that love will come after marriage.^ 

The feeling which makes husband and wife true com- 
panions for better and worse can grow up only in societies 
where the altruistic sentiments of man are strong enough to 
make him recognize woman as his equal, and where she is 
not shut up as an exotic plant in a green-house, but is allowed 
to associate freely with men. In this direction European 
civilization has been advancing for centuries, and there can 
be no reason to fear that it will ever be permanently diverted 

* Dubois, loc. ciL p. 109. * Polak, loc. cit, vol. i. p. 206. 
3 Burckhardt, ioc, cit, p. 155. 

* Palmblad, ' Grekisk fomkunskap,' vol. i. p. 252. * Das Ausland,' 

1875, P- 321. 

* Katscher, Ioc, cit, pp. 71, 84. Hermann-Bliimner, Ioc. cit. p. 261. 

* Plato, Ioc. cit. book vi. p. 771. 

7 Plutarch, * Utpi T^f ^^iic^r apfnjs* ch. viii. 


from the path by which alone some of the most important of 
its ends can be attained. 

When affection came to play a more prominent part in 
human sexual selection, higher regard was paid to intellectual, 
emotional, and moral qualities, through which the feeling is 
chiefly provoked. Later on, we shall see how great are the 
consequences which spring from this fact. For the present 
it may be enough to say that the preference given to higher 
qualities by civilized men contributes much to the mental 
improvement of the race. Dr. Stark observes that the intem- 
perate, profligate, and criminal classes do not commonly 
marry ; and the like is to a large extent true of persons who 
are very inferior in intellect, emotions, and will.^ 

Affection depends in a very high degree upon sympathy. 
Though distinct aptitudes, these two classes of emotions are 
most intimately connected : affection is strengthened by 
sympathy, and sympathy is strengthened by affection. Com- 
munity of interests, opinions, sentiments, culture, and mode 
of life, as being essential to close sympathy,* is therefore 
favourable to warm affection. If love is excited by contrast, 
it is so only within certain limits. The contrast must not be 
so great as to exclude sympathy. 

Great difference of age is fatal to close sympathy. Wie- 
land noted that most people who fall in love do so with persons 
of about their own age;^ and statistics prove the observation 
to be correct. Men who marry comparatively late in life 
usually avoid too great difference in age.* The foundation of 
this admiration and preference, modified by age, says Mr. 
Walker, " appears to be the similarity of objects and interests 
which are inseparable from similar periods of life, the associa- 
tion of these with a similar intensity of sexual desire, the con- 
sequent production of similar sympathy, and the resolve that 
it shall be permanent.*'^ 

A very important factor is similarity in the degree of cul- 
tivation. It seldom happens that a " gentleman " falls in love 

' Darwin, *The Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 215. 
2 Cf, Bain, loc, at p. 117 ; Sully, ' Outlines of Psychology,' p. Si 5. 
' Walker, ' Intermarriage,' pp. 11 3-1 15. 
Haushofer, loc. ciL p. 405. * Walker, pp. 115, ^/ seq. 

II' "liT -^— i^^i^v 


with a peasant-girl, or an artizan with a " lady." This does 
more than almost anything else to maintain the separation of 
the different classes, and to preserve the existing distribution 
of wealth among the various groups of society. 

Want of sympathy prevents great divisions of human beings 
— such as different races or nations, hereditary castes, classes, 
and adherents of different religions — from intermarrying, even 
where personal affection plays no part in the choice of the 
mate. Thus many uncivilized peoples carefully avoid marry- 
ing out of their own tribe, the chief reason being, I think, the 
strong dislike which distinct savage and barbarous nations 
have for one another. Mr. McLennan called such peoples 
" endogamous," in contradistinction to peoples who are 
** exogamous," i>., do not marry within their own tribe or clan. 
But this classification has caused much confusion, "exogamy" 
and " endogamy " not being real contraries. For there exists 
among every people an outer circle — to use Sir Henry Maine's 
very appropriate terminology — out of which marriage is either 
prohibited, or generally avoided ; as well as an inner circle, 
including the clan, or, at any rate, the very nearest kinsfolk, 
within which no marriage is allowed. 

Like the inner circle, the outer circle varies considerably in 
extent. Rengger states that many of the Indian races of 
Paraguay are too proud to intermarry with any race of a 
different colour, or even of a different stock.^ In Guiana and 
elsewhere, Indians do not readily intermix with negroes, 
whom they despise.^ Among the Isthmians of Central America, 
" marriage was not contracted with strangers or people 
speaking a different language;"* and in St. Salvador, ac- 
cording to Palacio, a man who had intercourse with a foreign 
woman was killed.^ Mr. Powers informs us of a Californian 
tribe who would put to death a woman for committing 
adultery with or marrying a white man ;^ and among the Baro- 

* Reich, loc, cit. p. 456. 

^ Waitz, * Introduction to Anthropology,* p. 174. 

* Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 772. 

* Spencer^ * Descriptive Sociologfy,' Ancient Mexicans, &c., p. 4. 

* Powers, loc, cit p. 214. Cf. Mackenzie, * Voyages,' p. 148 (Beaver 
and Rocky Mountain Indians). 


longs, a Bechuana tribe, the same punishment was formerly 
inflicted on any one who had intercourse with a European,^ 
Among the Kabyles, " le mariage avec une negresse n'est pas 
d^fendu en principe ; mais la famille s'opposerait k une 
pareille union." ^ 

The Chinese, according to Mr. Jamieson, refuse marriage 
with the surrounding barbarous tribes, with whom, as a rule, 
they have no dealings, either friendly or hostile.* The black 
and fairer people of the Philippines have from time imme- 
morial dwelt in the same country without producing an inter- 
mediate race ;* the Bugis of Perak have kept themselves 
very distinct from the people among whom they live ,•* and, 
in Sumatra, it is a rare thing for a Malay man to marry a 
Kubu woman.^ The Munda Kols severely punish a girl who 
is seduced by a Hindu, whereas intercourse with a man o 
their own people is regarded by most of them as quite a 
matter of course.''^ And, in Ceylon, even those Veddahs who 
live in settlements, although they have long associated with 
their neighbours, the Sinhalese, have not yet intermarried with 

Count de Gobineau remarks that not even a common 
religion and country can extinguish the hereditary aversion 
of the Arab to the Turk, of the Kurd to the Nestorian of 
Syria, of the Magyar to the Slav.^ Indeed, so strong, among 
the Arabs, is the instinct of ethnical isolation, that, as a 
traveller relates, at Djidda, where sexual morality is held in 
little respect, a Bedouin woman may yield herself for money 
to a Turk or European, but would think herself for ever dis- 
honoured if she were joined to him in lawful wedlock.^^ 

^ ' Das Ausland/ 1884, p. 464. 
' Hanoteau and Letoumeux, /oc. ciL vol. ii. p. 164. 
3 Jamieson, in * The China Review,* vol. x. pp. 94, et seq. 
* Crawfurd, * On the Classification of the Races of Man,' in * Trans. 
Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. vol. i. p. 357. * McNair, * Perak,' p. 131. 

^ Forbes, ' The Eastern Archipelago,' p. 241. 

7 Jellinghaus, in 'Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,* vol. iii. pp. 370, 371, 366. 

8 Bailey, in * Trans. Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. voL ii. pp. 282, 292, 

' de Gobineau, ' The Moral and Intellectual Diversity of Races/ pp. 
*o Ibid.^ p. 174, note i. Cf. d'Escayrac deXauture, loc, cit. p. 155. 



Marriages between Lapps and Swedes very rarely occur, 
being looked upon as dishonourable by both peoples. They 
are equally uncommon between Lapps and Norwegians, and 
it hardly ever happens that a Lapp marries a Russian.^ At 
various times, Spaniards in Central America, Englishmen in 
Mauritius, Frenchmen in Reunion and the Antilles, and 
Danish traders in Greenland, have been prevented by law 
from marrying natives.* Among the Hebrews, during the 
early days of their power and dominion, marriages with 
aliens seem to have been rare exceptions.* The Romans 
were prohibited from marrying barbarians ; Valentinian 
inflicted the penalty of death for such unions.* Tacitus was 
of opinion that the Germans refused marriage with foreign 
nations,^ and the like seems to have been the case with the 

Among several peoples marriage very seldom, or never, 
takes place even outside the territory of the tribe or com- 
munity. This is the case with many tribes of Guatemala,^ 
the Ahts,® Navajos,^ and Pueblos.^^ In the village of 
Schawill, in Southern Mexico, according to Mr. Stephens, 
"every member must marry within the rancho, and no 
such thing as a marriage out of it had ever occurred. 
They said it was impossible, it could not happen .... This 
was a thing so little apprehended that the punishment for it 
was not defined in their penal code ; but being questioned, 
after some consultations, they said that the offender, whether 
man or woman, would be expelled."^ Speaking of the 
Chaymas in New Andalusia, among whom marriages are 
contracted between the inhabitants of the same hamlet only,^ 
V. Humboldt says, "Savage nations are subdivided into an 
infinity of tribes, which, bearing a cruel hatred toward each 

* V. Duben, loc, cit. pp. 200, et seq. 

2 Morelet, loc, cit, Montgomery, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 491. Godron, loc. 
cit* voL ii. p. 360. Fries, loc. cit. p. 159. ^ Ewald, loc, dt. p. 193. 

* Rossbach, loc. cit, p. 465. * Tacitus, loc. cit, ch. iv. 
^ Macieiowski, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 191. 

^ Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 703. * Sproat, loc. cit. p. 98. 

Bancroft, vol. i. p. 512, note 120. 

»o Davis, loc, cit. p. 146. *^ Bancroft, vol. i. p. 663. 

12 V. Humboldt, * Personal Narrative,' vol. iii. p. 227. 




Other, form no intermarriages, even when their languages 
spring from the same root, and when only a small arm of a 
river, or a group of hills, separates their habitations/*^ This 
holds good especially for several of the Brazilian tribes.* In 
ancient Peru it was not lawful for the natives of one pro- 
vince or village to marry those of another.^ 

In Equatorial Africa, according to M. Du Chaillu, the non- 
cannibal tribes do not intermarry with their cannibal neigh- 
bours, >vhose peculiar practices are held in abhorrence.* 
Barrow states that the Hottentots always marry within their 
own kraal ;* and a Bushman woman would regard intercourse 
with any one out of the tribe, no matter how superior, as a 
degradation.® Among the Hovas, the different tribes, clans, 
and even families as a rule do not intermarry, as Mr. Sibree 
says, " in order to keep landed property together, as well as 
from a strong clannish feeling."^ Mr. Swann informs me that, 
among the Waguha, of West Tanganyika, marriages out of 
the tribe are avoided, though not prohibited ; and Arch- 
deacon Hodgson writes that this is very often the case in 
Eastern Central Africa. 

In India there are several instances of tribe- or clan- 
endogamy.® The Tipperahs and Abors, for example, view 
with abhorrence the idea of their girls marrying out of their 
own clan,® and Colonel Dalton was gravely assured that, 
" when one of the daughters of Pddam so demeans herself, the 
sun and the moon refuse to shine, and there is such a strife in 
the elements that all labour is necessarily suspended, till by 
sacrifice and oblation the stain is washed away."^*^ The Ainos 
not only despise the Japanese as much as the Japanese 
despise them, but are not very sociable even among them- 

* V. Humboldt, ' Personal Narrative,' vol. iii. pp. 226, et seq. 
^ V. Martius, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 106. 

3 Garcilasso de la Vega, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 308. 

* Du Chaillu, loc, cit. p. 97. * Barrow, loc. ciL vol. i. p. 144. 
® Chapman, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 75. ^ Sibree, loc. cit. pp. 256, 109- 

® Kolams (Dalton, loc. cit. p. 278), Koch (Hodgson, in 'Jour. As. Soc 
Bengal,' vol. xviii. p. 707), Karens of Burma (according to Dr. Bunker ; 
Mason, ' On Dwellings, &c., of the Karens,' in * Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' 
vol. XXX vii. pt. ii. p. 151). 

^ Lewin, loc. cit. p. 201. *'^ Dalton, p. 28. 



selves : one village does not like to marry into another.^ The 
same may be said of the Sermatta Islanders f whilst the 
Minahassers,* the Dyaks,* and the natives of New Guinea* 
and New Britain,® as a general rule, marry within their own 
tribe. Among the New Zealanders, according to Mr. Yate, 
" great opposition is made to any one taking, except for 
some political purpose, a wife from another tribe," and mar- 
riage generally takes place between relatives.^ In Australia 
there are groups of tribes, so-called associated tribes, gener- 
ally speaking the same dialect, who are in the habit of 
uniting for common defence and other purposes. Mar- 
riage between the members of associated tribes is the rule,® 
but many tribes are mostly endogamous.® 

In ancient Wales, according to Mr. Lewis, marriage was 
to be within the clan.^^ At Athens, at least in its later 
history, if an alien lived as a husband with an Athenian 
woman, he was liable to be sold as a slave, and to have his 
property confiscated ; and, if an Athenian lived with a foreign 
woman, she was liable to like consequences, and he to a 
penalty of a thousand drachmae.^^ Marriage with foreign 
women was unlawful for all Spartans, and was made unlawful 
for the Heraclidae by a separate rhetra.^^ At Rome, any 
marriage of a citizen with a woman who was not herself a 
Roman citizen, or did not belong to a community possessing 
the privilege of cannubium with Rome — which was always 
expressly conferred — was invalid ; no legitimate children 

* Batchelor, in 'Trans. As. Soc. Japan,' vol. x. pp. ill yd seq, v. Sie- 
bold, loc, cit. pp. 30, et seq, 

2 Riedel, loc, cit, p. 325. 

3 Hickson, loc, cit, p. 277. Wilken, * Verwantschap,' pp. 21, et seq. 

* Wilken, p. 23. 

* Bink, in * Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' sen iii. vol. xi. p. 396. 

* Romilly, in ' Proceed. Roy. Geo. Soc/ N. S. vol. ix. p. 9. 
^ Yate, loc, cit, pp. 99, 96. 

* Curr, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 67, 63. Mathew, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N.S. 
Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 398. 

» Curr, voL i. pp. 298, 303, 330, 343, 377; vol. ii. pp. 21, 179, 197, 
yy] ; vol. iii. pp. 252, 272. 
^^ Lewis, loc. cit. p. 196. 
** Heam, loc, cit, pp. J 56, et seq. 
^ Miiller, * The Doric Race,' vol. ii. p. 302. 



could be born of such a marriage.^ In early times it was 
even customary for a father to seek, for his daughter, a hus- 
band from his own gens^ marriage out of it being mentioned 
as an extraordinary thing * 

Prohibitions of intermarriage do not refer only to persons 
belonging to different nations or tribes ; very often they relate 
also to persons belonging to different classes or castes of the 
same community. Yet in many, perhaps most, cases these 
prohibitions originally coincided. Castes are frequently, if not 
always, the consequences of foreign conquest and subjugation, 
the conquerors becoming the nobility, and the subjugated the 
commonalty or slaves. Thus, before the Norman conquest, 
the English aristocracy was Saxon ; after it, Norman. The 
descendants of the German conquerors of Gaul were, for a 
thousand years, the dominant race in France ; and until the 
fifteenth century all the higher nobility were of Prankish or 
Burgundian origin.^ The Sanskrit word for caste is " vama," 
1.^., colour, which shows how the distinction of high and low 
caste arose in India. That country was inhabited by dark 
races before the fairer Aryans took possession of it ; and the 
bitter contempt of the Aryans for foreign tribes, their domineer- 
ing spirit, and their strong antipathies of race and of religion, 
found vent in the pride of class and caste distinctions. Even 
to this day a careful observer can distinguish the descendants 
of conquerors and conquered. " No sojourner in India," says 
Dr. Stevenson, "can have paid any attention to the physi- 
ognomy of the higher and lower orders of natives without 
being struck with the remarkable difference that exists in the 
shape of the head, the build of the body, and the colour of the 
skin between the higher and the lower castes into which the 
Hindu population is divided."* This explanation of the origin 
of Indian castes is supported by the fact that it is in some of 
the latest Vedic hymns that we find the earliest references to 
those four classes — the Brahmans, the Kshatriyas, the Vai^yas, 

* Gaius, * Institutiones,' book i. § 56. 

' Marquardt and Mommsen, loc, ciU vol. vii. p. 29. 

' Hotz, in de Gobineau, * The Diversi.^y of Races,' p. 239. 

* Muller, * Chips from a German Workshop,' vol. i. pp. 322, et seq. 
Cf. Monier Williams, * Hinduism,' p. 154. 



p r 

and the ^udras — ^to which all the later castes have been traced 
back.^ The Incas of Peru were known as a conquering race ; 
and the ancient Mexicans represented the culture-heroes of 
the Toltecs as white.* Among the Beni-Amer, the nobles 
are mostly light coloured, while the commoners are blackish.^ 
The Polynesian nobility have a comparatively fair com- 
plexion,* and seem to be the descendants of a conquering or 
superior race. ** The chiefs, and persons of hereditary rank 
and influence in the islands," says Ellis, " are, almost without 
exception, as much superior to the peasantry or common 
people, in stateliness, dignified deportment, and physical 
strength, as they are in rank and circumstances; although 
they are not elected to their station on account of their 
personal endowments, but derive their rank and elevation from 
their ancestry. This is the case with most of the groups of the 
Pacific, but particularly so in Tahiti and the adjacent islands/'^ 
Among the Shans, according to Dr. Anderson, " the majority 
of the higher classes seemed to be distinguished from the 
common people by more elongated oval faces and a decidedly 
Tartar type of countenance."® In America, at the time of the 
earliest European immigration, a kind of caste distinction 
arose, white blood being synonymous with nobility ; and, in 
La Plata, Spaniards, Mestizoes, and Indians were separated 
from each other even in church.^ 

As descendants of different ancestors, members of noble 
families keep up their separate position, and remain almost as 
foreigners to the people among whom they live. Speculating 
on the want of sympathy among the various classes in 
societies in which such distinctions are recognized, Count de 
Tocqueville says, " Each caste has its own opinions, feelings, 
rights, manners, and modes of living. Thus, the men of whom 

* Rhys Davids, loc, ciL pp. 22, et seq, 

* Waitz, loc, ciL voL iv. p. 64. ^ Munzinger, loc. cit. p. 336. 

* Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 6. Lisiansky, loc. ciL p. 85 (Nukahivans). 

* Ellis, * Polynesian Researches,' vol. i. p. 82. Cf. Beechey, loc. ciL 
vol. i. pp. 205, et seq, ; Seemann, * Viti,' p. 79 ; Waitz-Gerland, voL v. 

pt. ii. p. 113- 

* Anderson, loc, cit. p. 289. 

7 Bastian, ' Beitrage zur Ethnologie,' in ^ Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. i. 
pp. 267, et seq 

B B 


each caste is composed do not resemble the mass of their 
fellow-citizens ; they do not think or feel in the same 
manner, and they scarcely believe that they belong to the 
same human race. . . . When the chroniclers of the Middle 
Ages, who all belonged to the aristocracy by birth or education, 
relate the tragical end of a noble, their grief flows apace ; 
whereas they tell you at a breath, and without wincing, of 
massacres and tortures inflicted on the common sort of people. 
Not that these writers felt habitual hatred or systematic dis- 
dain for the people ; war between the several classes of the 
community was not yet declared. They were impelled by an 
instinct rather than by a passion ; as they had formed no clear 
notion of a poor man's sufferings, they cared but little for his 
fate." Then, in proof of this, the writer gives extracts from 
Madame de Sevign^'s letters, displaying a cruel jocularity 
which, in our day, "the harshest man writing to the most insens- 
ible person of his acquaintance " would not venture wantonly 
to indulge in ; and yet Madame de S^vignd was not selfish or 
cruel : she was passionately attached to her children, and ever 
ready to sympathize with her friends, and she treated her 
servants and vassals with kindness and indufgence.^ 

It is to this want of affection and sympathy between the 
different layers of society, together with the vain desire of 
keeping the blood pure, that the prohibition of marriage out 
of the class, or the general avoidance of such marriages, owes 
its origin. Among the Ahts, for instance, who take great 
pride in honourable birth, a patrician loses caste unless he 
marries a woman of corresponding rank, in his own or another 
tribe.* Among the Isthmians of Central America, the lords 
married only the daughters of noble blood ; and, in Guatemala, 
marriage with a slave reduced the free-man to a slave's 
condition.^ The tribes of Brazil also consider such alliances 
highly disgraceful.* 

Nowhere are the different orders of society more distinctly 
separated from each other than in the South Sea Islands. In 

* de Tocqueville, * Democracy in America,' vol. ii. pp. 149-151. 

* Sproat, loc, ciL pp. 91; 99- ' Bancroft, loc, cU. voL iL p. 659. 
< V. Martius, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 71. v. Spix and v. Martius, loc cit, 

vol. ii. p. 74. 

- J n 


 ' » —  —  

the Marianne group, it was the common belief that only the 
nobles were endowed with an immortal soul ; and a nobleman 
who married a girl of the people was punished with death.^ 
In Polynesia also, the commoners were looked upon by the 
nobility almost as a different species of beings.* Hence in 
the higher ranks marriage was concluded only between 
persons of corresponding position ; and if, in Tahiti, a 
woman of condition chose an inferior person as a hus- 
band, the children he had by her were killed.* In the 
Indian Archipelago, marriages between persons of different 
rank are, as a rule, disapproved, and in some places they are 
prohibited.* Among the Hovas of Madagascar, the three 
great divisions — the nobles, the commoners, and the slaves, — 
with few exceptions, cannot intermarry ; neither do the three 
different classes of slaves marry each other.* Almost the 
same rule holds good for the different orders of the Beni- 
Amer and Marea ; * whilst, among the Teda, the smiths form 
an hereditary and utterly despised caste by themselves, being 
obliged to marry solely with members of their own caste.^ By 
several African peoples, however, slaves and freemen are 
allowed to intermarry.® 

The Aenezes of Arabia never intermarry with the " szona," 
handicraftsmen or artizans ; nor do they ever marry* their 
daughters to Fellahs, or to inhabitants of towns.^ In India, 
intermarriage between different castes was in Manu's time 
permissible, but is now altc^ether prohibited. Of the original 

* Waitz-Gerland, loc, cit, vol. v. pt ii. p. 112. 

* Ibid,y vol. vi. pp. 165, 186. 

3 Cook, * Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,' vol. ii. pp. 171, ^/ seq, Ellis, 
' Polynesian Researches,* voL i. p. 256. 

*■ Wilken, in ' Bijdragen,' &c., ser. v. vol. i. p. 153. Hickson, A?^. cit, 
p. 278 (Minahassers). Matthes, loc. cit, p. 13 (Bugis and Macassars). 
Riedel, loc, cit, pp. 302, 434 (natives of Timor-Laut and Wetter). 
St. John, 'Wild Tribes of the North- West Coast of Borneo,' in ' Trans. 
Elthn- Soc,' N. S. vol. iL pp. 234, et seq, (Sea Dyaks). 

* Sibree, loc, cit. pp. 256, 185. • Munzinger, loc, cit, pp. 313, 240. 
7 Nachtigal, loc, cit, vol. i. pp. 443, et seq, 

* Negroes of Loango (Soyaux, loc, cit, p. 162), Hottentots (Kolben, 
/^^. cit. voL i. p. 156), Kunima and Barea (Munzinger, p. 484). 

9 Burckhardt, loc, cit, p. 63. 

B B 2 


four castes, the Brahmans alone have retained their purity to 
any extent, but there is an almost endless number of trade- 
castes, resulting chiefly from associations of men engaged in 
the same occupation.^ Moreover, as Sir Monier Williams 
remarks, "we find castes within castes, so that even the 
Brahmans are broken up and divided into numerous races, 
which again are subdivided into numerous tribes, families, or 
sub-castes . . . which do not intermarry."* Class-endc^ramy 
prevails in Ceylon,* Siam,* and Corea;*^ and in the Chittagong 
district, when a slave marries, the person chosen must be a 
slave.® In China, play-actors, policemen, boatmen, and slaves 
are not allowed to marry women of any other class than that 
to which they respectively belong.^ And in Japan, before the 
year 1 868, when a new order of things was introduced, the 
different classes of nobles were not permitted to intermarry 
with each other or with common people.® 

In Europe there have been similar prohibitions. In Rome, 
plebeians and patricians could not intermarry till the year 
455 B.C., nor were marriages allowed between patricians and 
clients. Cicero himself disapproved of intermarriages of in- 
genui and freedmen, and, though such alliances were generally 
permitted under the Emperors, yet a senator could not marry 
a freed-woman, nor a patroness her liberated slave. Between 
freemen and slaves contubemium could take place, but not 
marriage.^ Among the Teutonic peoples, in ancient times, 
any freeman who had intercourse with a slave was punished 
with slavery, and a woman guilty of such a crime might be 
killed. In the Scandinavian countries, slavery came to an 
end at a comparatively early period, but in Germany it was 
succeeded by serfdom ; and equality of birth continued to be 
regarded as an indispensable condition of lawful marriage. 
As late as the thirteenth century any German woman who 

* Monier Williams, ' Hinduism,' pp. 155, 153. 

* Idem^ ' Indian Wisdom,' p. 218, note. 

5 Davy, he. cit, p. 284. * Neale, loc, ciL p. 58. 

* Ross, loc, cit, p. 311. • Lewin, loc. ciL p. 86, note. 
^ Gray, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 187. 

 Kiichler, in * Trans. As. Soc. Japan,' vol. xiiL jx 117. * 
■' Mommsen, loc. cit. voL i. p. 318. Rossbach, loc. cit. pp. 24.9, 456^ 
457, et seq. 

. -T.^ — ^ ■>!. 



had intercourse with a serf lost her liberty.^ From the class 
of freemen, both in Germany and in Scandinavia, the nobility 
gradually emerged as a distinct order, and marriages between 
persons of noble birth and persons who, although free, were 
not noble, came to be considered misalliances.* In Sweden, 
in the seventeenth century, such marriages were punished.' 

Modern civilization tends to pull down the barriers which 

separate the various classes of society, just as it tends to 

diminish the differences in interests, habits, sentiments, and 

knowledge. Birth no longer determines to the same extent 

as before a man's social position, and nobility has become a 

shadow of what it was. Thus there survive but few traces of 

the former class-endogamy. According to German Civil 

Law, the marriage of a man belonging to the high nobility 

with a woman of inferior birth is still regarded as a dis- 

paragium ; and the woman is not entitled to the rank of her 

husband, nor is the full right of inheritance possessed by her 

or by her children.* Although in no way prevented by law, 

marriages out of the class are generally avoided by custom. 

'* The outer or endogamous limit, within which a man or 

woman must marry," says Sir Henry Maine, " has been mostly 

taken under the shelter of fashion or prejudice. It is but 

faintly traced in England, though not wholly obscured. It is 

(or perhaps was) rather more distinctly marked in the United 

States, through prejudices against the blending of white and 

coloured blood. But in Germany certain hereditary dignities 

are still forfeited by a marriage beyond the forbidden limits ; 

and in France, in spite of all formal institutions, marriages 

between a person belonging to the noblesse and a person 

belonging to the bourgeoisie (distinguished roughly from one 

another by the particle * de ') are wonderfully rare, though 

they are not unknown."* 

Different nations, like the different classes of society, have 

^ Winroth, ^Aktenskapshindren,' pp. 233, 227, 230. Weinhold, 
' Deutsche Frauen,' voL i. pp. 349, 353, et seq. 

* Weinhold, vol. i. pp. 349, et seq, 

* Odhner, 'Larobok i Sveriges, Norges och Danmarks historia,' p. 241. 

* Behrend, in v. Holtzendorff, * Encyclopadie der Rechtswissenschaft,' 

pt. i. p. 478. 

^ Maine, ^ Early Law and Custom,' pp. 224, et seq. 


been gradually drawing nearer to each other. National 
prejudices have diminished, and international sympathy has 
increased. During the Middle Ages a foreigner was called in 
Germany " ein Elender," because he stood outside the law ;^ 
to-day he enjoys the protection of the law in all civilized 
countries, and is not as a foreigner an object of prejudice. 
This widening of sympathy, and improved means of com- 
munication, have of course made intermarriages between the 
several nations much more common than they used to be. 

Religion, finally, has formed a great bar to intermarriage. 
In British India, the descendants of all the Mohammedan 
races — Arab, Iranian, Turanian, Mongol, and Hindu converts 
— intermarry, but there are few unions between Christian men 
and Mohammedan women.' Indeed, according to Mr. Lane, 
such a marriage is not permitted under any circumstances, 
and cannot take place otherwise than by force. On the 
other hand, it is held lawful for a Mohammedan to marry a 
Christian or a Jewish woman, if induced to do so by excessive 
love of her, or if he cannot obtain a wife of his own religion. 
In this case, however, the offspring must follow the father's 
faith, and the wife does not inherit when the husband dies.' 
Marriage with a heathen woman is never permitted to a 

It is mainly religion that has kept the Jews a relatively 
pure race. " The Jew," says Dr. Neubauer, ** has no preference 
for, or any aversion from, one race or another, provided he can 
marry a woman of his religion, and vice vers&r^ Indeed, the 
Jewish law does not recognize marriage with a person of 
another belief,® though there are instances of such marriages 
in the early days of Israel.^ During the Middle Ages, 
marriage between Jews and Christians was prohibited by the 

^ Behrend, in v. Holtzendorff, ' Encyclopadie,* pt i. p. 457. 

* Balfour, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 885. 
' Lane, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 137. 

* d'Escayrac de Lauture, loc, cit, p. 68. 

* Neubauer, ' Notes on the Race-Types of the Jews,' in * Jour. Anthr. 
Inst.,* vol. XV. p. 19. 

^ Frankel, ' Grundlinien des mosaiscb-talmudischen Eherechts,' p. xx. 
Ritter, ' Philo und die Halacha,' p. 71. 
'' * Genesis,' ch. xxi. v. 21 ; ch. xxxvi. v. 2. 


Christians also, and universally avoided.^ " The folk-lore of 
Europe," Mr. Jacobs remarks, " regarded the Jews as some- 
thing infra-human, and it would require an almost impossible 
amount of large toleration for a Christian maiden of the 
Middle Ages to regard union with a Jew as anything other 
than unnatural." Mr. Jacobs thinks it may be doubted 
whether even at the present day there is one mixed marriage 
to five hundred pure Jewish marriages.* 

St. Paul indicates that a Christian was not allowed to marry 
a heathen,' and Tertullian calls such an alliance fornication.* 
In early times, the Church often encouraged marriages of 
this sort as a means of propagating Christianity, and it was 
only when its success was beyond doubt that it actually prohi- 
bited them.* The Council of Elvira expressly forbade Chris- 
tian parents to give their daughters in marriage to heathens, 
ordering that those who did so should be excommunicated.® 

Even the adherents of different Christian confessions have 
been prohibited from intermarrying. In the Roman Church 
the prohibition of marriage with heathens and Jews 
{imptdimentutn culttis disparitatis) was soon followed by 
the prohibition of " mixed marriages " {impedimentum mixtae 
religionis)\ and the Protestants also originally forbade 
such unions. The Greek Church, on the other hand, made 
in this respect a distinction between schismatici^ or those 
who dissent from the Church in non-essential points only, and 
haereticiy or those who dissent from its fundamental doctrines.^ 
Mixed marriages are not now contrary to the civil law either 
in Roman Catholic or in Protestant countries ; but in countries 
belonging to the Orthodox Greek Church the ecclesiastical 
restrictions have been adopted by the State. In Russia, 
Greece, and Servia, Roman Catholics and Protestants are re- 
garded as schismaticiy but in the Turkish countries as haeretici? 

* Andree, loc, cit. p. 48. Neubauer,in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xv. p. 19. 

* Jacobs, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xv. p. 52. 

* St Paul, ' I Corinthians,' ch. vii. v. 39. 

* Tertullian, ' Ad Uxorem,' book ii. ch. 3. 
^ Winroth, loc. cit, p. 212. 

* Herzog, * Abriss der gesaxnmten Kirchengeschichte,' vol. i. p. 215. 
^ Winroth, pp. 213-215. * Ibid.^ pp. 220, et seq. 


It is noteworthy that, in countries which are partly Roman 
Catholic, partly Protestant, mixed marriages form only a 
comparatively small percentage of the whole number of 

In no respect has modern civilization acted more benefi- 
cently than as a promoter of religious toleration. In our time 
difference of faith discourages sympathy to a much less ex- 
tent than it did in former ages. Hence the number of mixed 
marriages everywhere tends to increase. In Bavaria, for 
instance, they amounted in 1835 — 1850 to 2*8 per cent, of the 
whole number of marriages, in 1850 — 1860 to 36 per cent., in 
i860 — 1 870 to 4'4 percent., in 1870 — 1875 to 56 per cent, 
and in 1876 — 1877 to 6*6 per cent.* 

While, therefore, civilization has narrowed the inner limit, 
within which a man or woman must not many, it has 
widened the outer limit within which a man or woman may 
marry, and generally marries. The latter of these processes 
has been one of vast importance in man's history. Originating 
in race- or caste-pride, or in religious intolerance, the en- 
dogamous rules have, in their turn, helped to keep up and 
strengthen these feelings. Law is by nature conservative, 
maintaining sentiments developed under past conditions. It 
is only by slow degrees that the ideas of a new time become 
strong enough to release mankind from ancient prejudices. 

We have hitherto dealt only with the poetry of sexual 
selection — love ; now something is to be said of its prose — dry 
calculation. And we may conveniently begin with man's 
appreciation of woman's fertility, as this has some of the 
characteristics of an instinct. Desire for offspring is universal 
in mankind. Abortion, indeed, is practised now and then, 
and infanticide frequently takes place among many savage 
peoples ; but these facts do not disprove the general rule. 

Speaking of the Crees, Chippewyas, and other Indians on 
the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, Harmon says that 
"all Indians are very desirous of having a numerous off- 
spring."» Among the Ingaliks, "children are anxiously 

1 V. Octtingen, loc, ciL § 11. « /&V/., p. 131. 

' Harmon, loc, ctt p. 374, 

■.■J" — ■>- -  


desired, even when women have no husbands."^ Among the 
Mayas, disappointed couples prayed earnestly, and brought 
many offerings to propitiate the god whose anger was sup- 
posed to have deferred their hopes. ^ " Be numerous in offspring 
and descendants," is a frequent marriage benediction or saluta- 
tion in Madagascar ; for to die without posterity is looked upon 
as a great calamity, and is termed " dead as regards the eye."* 
A negfro considers childlessness the greatest disaster which can 
happen to him ;* Bosman once asked one of the king's 
captains in Fida how many children he had, and he answered, 
sighing, that he was so unhappy as not to have many — he 
could not pretend to have had above seventy, including those 
who were dead. Among the Waganda and Wanyoro, great 
rejoicings take place in the case of the birth of twins.* The 
Shaman heathens of Siberia regarded an abundance of 
children and cattle as the most essential condition of a 
man's happiness.* " Honest people have many children," a 
Japanese proverb says ; ^ the Chinese regard a large family 
of sons as a mark of the divine favour ; " and to become the 
father of a son is described in Indian poems as the greatest 
happiness which may fall to the share of a mortal.® In 
Persia, childlessness is considered the most horrible calamity.*^ 
One of the chief blessings that Moses in the name of God 
promised the Israelites was a numerous progeny ; and the 
ancient Romans regarded the procreation of legitimate 
children as the real end of marriage.^^ ** He who has no 
children, has no happiness either," the South Slavonians say ;^^ 

* Dall, loc. cit. p. 194. Cf, Bancroft, loc. ciL vol. i. p. 81 (Kaniag^uts). 

* Bancroft, vol. ii. p. 678. ^ Sibree, loc, cit, p. 246. 

* Waitz, loc, cit vol. ii. p. 121. Cf. Reade, loc, cit. p. 242. 

* Wilson and Felkin, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 187 ; vol. ii. p. 49. 

* Gcorgi, loc, cit, p. 382. For other instances, see * Science,' vol. vii. 
p. 172 (Greenlanders) ; Munzinger, loc, cit, p. 387 (Kundma) ; Low, loc, 
cit. p. 196 (Dyaks) ; Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 135 (Nukahivans). 

' Rein, loc. cit. p. 426. 

* Gray, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 183. 

9 v. Bohlen, loc. cit, vol. ii. p. 142. 

1^ Polak, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 218. For the ancient Eranians, see Spiegel, 
loc. cit, voL iii. p. 681. 
" Rossbach, loc, cit, pp. 5, 299. 
^^ Krauss, loc. cit, p. 591. 


and German folk-lore compares a marriage without oflfspring 
with a world without sun.^ 

A woman therefore is valued not only as a wife but as a 
mother. Nowhere has greater stress been laid on this idea than 
in ancient Lacedaemon. A husband, if he considered that the 
unfruitfulness of the marriage was owing to himself, gave his 
matrimonial rights to a younger man, whose child then be- 
longed to the husband's family ; and to the wives of men who, 
for example, fell in battle before having children, other men, 
probably slaves, were assigned, that there might be heirs and 
successors to the deceased husband.^ Among many peoples 
the respect in which a woman is held is proportionate to her 
fecundity,^ and a barren wife is frequently despised as an 
unnatural and useless being> In Angola, according to 
Livingstone, in the native dances, " when any one may wish to 
deride another, in the accompanying song a line is introduced, 
* So and so has no children, and never will get any/ " The 
offended woman feels the insult so keenly that it is not 
uncommon for her to rush away and commit suicide.' 
Among the Creeks, a man always calls his wife his son's 
mother;* and, among the Todas, in addressing a man with 
the casual question, " Are you married ? " the ordinary way 
of putting it would be to say, " Is there a son ? " ^ 

It is obvious, then, that fecundity must be one of the 
qualities which a man most eagerly requires from his bride. 
Mr. Reade tells us that, in certain parts of Africa, especi- 

^ Deecke, loc, cit, p. 25. 

* Mtlller, ' The Doric Race,' vol. ii. p. 211. 

^ African races (Waitz, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 121. Schweinfurth, l&c^ cit' 
vol. ii. p. 31. Du ChaiUu, loc, cit. p. 335), Kaniagmuts (Sauer, he. dt. 
p. 176), &c. 

^ Eskimo (King, ' The Intellectual Character of the Esquimaux,' in 
'Jour. £thn. Soc. London,' vol. i. p. 150), North American Indians 
(Waitz, loc. cit vol. iii. p. 100), Negroes of Benin (Bosman, ioc. dt, 
p. 527), natives of Monbuttu (' Emin Pasha in Central Africa,' p. 209) 
and the Indian Archipelago (Wilken, in ' De Indische Gids,' 18S0, voL ii. 
p. 633), Kirghiz, Tartars of Kazan and Orenburg, Laplanders (Georgia 
loc, cit. pp. 10, 105, 221), Hebrews (Michaelis, ' Commentaries on the Laws 
of Moses,' vol. i. p. 471), ancient Germans (Tacitus, he. cit. ch. xx.). 

* Livingstone, he. cit. p. 412. 

Schoolcraft, loc. cit, vol. v. p. 272. ' Marshall, loc. cit. p. 214. 


ally in malarious localities, where women are so frequently 
sterile, no one cares to marry a girl till she has borne a child ; 
and among the Votyaks, according to Dr. Buch, a girl gets 
married sooner if she is a mother.^ 

We have seen several instances of husband and wife not 
living together as married people before the birth of a child. 
Among the Creeks, marriages were contracted for a year, but 
if they proved fruitful, they were, as a rule, renewed.* Again, 
with regard to an order of the Essenes, Josephus states that, 
considering succession to be the principal part of human life, 
they tried their spouses for three years, and then married 
them only if there was a prospect of the union being fruitful.* 
Among many peoples it is the practice for a man to repudiate 
a barren wife. 

The desire for offspring, with its consequence, the apprecia- 
tion of female fecundity, is due to various causes. First, there 
is in man an instinct for reproduction. Mr. Marshall remarks, 
** Of this desire for progeny I have seen many examples 
amongst the Todas, so strongly marked, but to all appearances 
apart from the sense of personal ambition, and separate from 
any demands of religion or requirements for support in old 
age, as to give the impression that it was the primitive faculty 
of Philoprogenitiveness, acting so insensibly, naturally, as to 
have the character more of a plain instinct, than of an 
intelligent human feeling."* With this instinct a feeling of 
parental pride is associated. " Children," says Hobbes, " are a 
man's power and his honour."^ 

Among the Hebrews and the ancient Aryan nations, the 
desire for offspring, particularly sons, had its root chiefly in re- 
ligious belief, being a natural outcome of the idea that the spirits 
of the dead were made happy by homage received at the hands 
of their male posterity. The same is the case with the Chinese * 

* Reade, loc. cit, p. 547. Buch, loc, cit pp. 45, et seq, Cf. Wilson and 
Felkin, loc, cii. vol. ii. p. 309 (Gowane people of Kordofan) ; Zimmer- 
mann, loc. cit. vol. i. pp. 253, et seq. (Solomon Islanders). 

* Waltz, loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 105. 

' Josephus, loc. cit, book ii. ch. viii. § 13. 

^ Marshall, loc. cit. p. 209. 

•^ Quoted by Bain, loc. cit. p. 142. 

^ Gray, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 183. 


and Japanese, ^ and perhaps, to a certain extent, with some 
peoples at a lower stage of civilization. The savage believes that 
the life which goes on after death, differs in nothing from this 
life, that wants and pursuits remain as before, that, conse- 
quently, the dead man's spirit eats and drinks, and needs fire 
for warmth and cooking. It is, of course, his surviving 
descendants who have to see that he is well provided for in 
these respects. Hence the offerings to deceased ancestors for 
various periods after death and the feasts for the dead.' Among 
the Thlinkets, according to Holmberg, it sometimes happens 
that a man spends his whole fortune as well as his wife's 
marriage portion on such a feast, and has to live as a poor man 
for the rest of his life." 

But no doubt children are most eagerly longed for by 
savage man because they are of use to him in his lifetime. 
They are easily supported when young, and in times of want 
they may be left to die or be sold. When a few years old, the 
sons become able to hunt, fish, and paddle, and later on they 
are their father's companions in war. The daughters help 
their mother to provide food, and, when grown up, they are 
lucrative objects of trade. Finally, when old, the parents 
would often suffer want had they not their children to support 
them.* Hence, in a savage condition of life, children are the 
chief wealth of the family. And the same is the case at some- 
what higher stages of social development. Mr. Lane remarks 
that, in Egypt, ** at the age of five or six years, the children 
become of use to tend the flocks and herds ; and at a more 
advanced age, until they marry, they assist their fathers in the 
operations of agriculture. The poor in Egypt have often to 
depend entirely upon their sons for support in their old age; 
but many parents are deprived of these aids, and consequently 
reduced to beggary, or almost to starvation." * To a certain 
extent, this holds good for the uneducated classes in Europe 

* Rein, loc, cit p. 423. 

' Spencer, ' The Principles of Sociology,' vol. i. pp. loi, 102, 139, &c. 
' Hohnberg, in * Acta Soc. Sci. Fennicae,' vol. iv. pp. 326, et seq. 

* Cf, Georgi, loc, cit. p. 323 ; Hunter, * Rural Bengal,' vol. i, p. 205. 

* Lane, loc, ciL vol. i. p. 268. 


With the progress of civilization the desire for offspring has 
become less intense. The religious motive has of course died 
out in the Christian world, and, in proportion as social life 
becomes more complicated, and a professional education be- 
comes more necessary for success in the struggle for exist- 
ence, children, at least in " the upper classes " and among 
towns-people, put their parents to expense instead of being a 
source of wealth. A childless couple may, indeed, deplore 
the absence of children ; but a woman is no longer held in 
respect only, or principally, as a mother ; and marriage, 
according to modern ideas, is something more than an institu- 
tion for the procreation of legitimate offspring. Yet it is 
remarkable that, in Switzerland, although barrenness is no 
sufficient reason for a man to repudiate his wife, two-fifths 
of the total number of divorces take place between married 
people who have no children, whilst the sterile marriages 
amount only to one-fifth of the number of marriages.^ 

A wife is of use to her husband not merely because she 
gives him labourers, but also because she herself is a labourer. 
Drying and preparing fish and meat, lighting and attending 
to the fire, transporting baggage, picking berries, dressing 
hides and making clothes, cooking food and taking care of 
the children — these are, in the savage state, the chief pursuits 
of a wife. Among agricultural and cattle-farming peoples, 
she has, besides, to cultivate the soil and to tend the cattle. 
A wife, therefore, is chosen partly because of her ability to 
perform such duties. Thus, among the Greenlanders, clever- 
ness in sewing and skill in the management of household 
affairs are the most attractive qualities of a woman.^ Among 
other Eskimo tribes and in Tierra del Fuego, middle-aged 
men will connect themselves with old women who are best 
able to take care of their common comforts." The Inland 
Columbians, according to Mr. Bancroft, make " capacity for 
work the standard of female excellence ; " * and, among the 
Turkomans, young widows fetch double the price of spinsters, 

* Glasson, * Le mariage civil et le divorce,' p. 470. 
' Fries, ioc, cit. p. iii. Cf, Cranz, loc, ciL vol. i. pp. 145, et seq. 
^ King, in * Jour. Ethn. Soc. London,' vol. i. p. 145. ' Globus,' vol. xlix. 
p. 35. * Bancroft, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 276. 


because they are more accustomed to hard labour, and more 
experienced in household concerns.^ 

A husband's function is to protect his faniily from enemies 
and to prevent them from falling into distress. A woman, as 
we have already seen, even instinctively prefers a courageous 
and strong man to one who is cowardly and feeble. But 
reflection also makes her choose a man who is well able to 
defend her and to provide food. Among the Comanches, 
says Mr. Parker, " young girls are not averse to marry very 
old men, particularly if they are chiefs, as they are always 
sure of something to eat." * 

At more advanced stages of civilization, money and in- 
herited property often take the place of skill, strength, and 
working ability. Thus, wife-purchase and husband-purchase 
still persist in modern society, though in disguised forms. 

^ de Bode, ' The Yamiid and GokUn Tribes of Turkomania,' in * Jour. 
£thn. See. London/ vol. i. p. 75. 
* Schoolcraft, /ac. cit, vol. v. p. 683. 




The practice of capturing wives prevails in various parts 
of the world, and traces of it are met with in the marriage 
ceremonies of several peoples, indicating that it occurred much 
more frequently in past ages. 

Speaking of the inhabitants of Unimak, Coxe says that 
they invaded the other Aleutian islands, and carried off 
women — the chief object of their incursions.^ Among the 
Ahts, a man occasionally steals a wife from the women of his 
own tribe ; ' whilst the Bonaks of California usually take 
women in battle from other tribes, and the Macas Indians of 
Ecuador acquire wives by purchase, if the woman belongs to 
the same tribe, but otherwise by force.* All the Carib tribes 
used to capture women from different peoples and tribes, so 
that the men and women nowhere spoke the same tongue ;* 
and V. Martius states that, in Brazil, " some tribes habitually 
steal their neighbours' daughters." ^ 

Among the Mosquito Indians, after the wedding is all 
arranged and the presents paid, the bridegroom seizes his 
bride and carries her off, followed by her female relatives, 
-who pretend to try to rescue her.® The Araucanians con- 
sider the carrying off of the bride by pretended violence an 

* Coxe, /oc, cit p. 257. * Sproat, loc, cit. p. 98. 

3 Schoolcraft, loc. cit. voL iv. p. 224. ' Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. iii. p. 30. 

^ Waitz, loc, cit vol. iii. p. 355. McLennan, ' Studies,' p. 34. 

* V. Martius, in 'Jour. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' vol. ii. p. 197. 

* Bancroft, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 733, 


essential prerequisite to the nuptials, and, according to Mr. 
E. R. Smith, it is even " a point of honour with the bride 
to resist and struggle, however willing she may be." ^ The 
Uaup6s " have no particular ceremony at their marriages, ex- 
cept that of always carrying away the girl by force, or making 
a show of doing so, even when she and her parents are quite 
willing."* Almost the same is said of the Fuegians, though 
among them the capture is sometimes more than a ceremony.* 

Andersson remarks that, among the Bushmans, woman is 
only too often belli teterrima causal Speaking of the Bechu- 
anas, Mr. Conder says, " As regards wedding ceremonies, 
there is one of casting an arrow into the hut by the bride- 
groom, which is worthy of notice as symbolic." ^ Among the 
Wakamba, marriage is an affair of purchase, but the bride- 
groom " must then carry off the bride by force or stratagem." • 
The Wa-tarta and Wa-chaga of Eastern Equatorial Africa 
have also a marriage ceremony of capture ; ^ and the like is 
the case with the Inland Negroes mentioned by Lord Kames,® 
and the Abyssinians.* Among the tribes of Eastern Central 
Africa described by Mr. Macdonald, marriage by capture 
occurs not as a symbol only.^** 

According to a common belief, the Australian method of 
obtaining wives is capture in its most brutal form.^^ But con- 
trary to Mr. Howitt,^* Mr. Curr informs us that only on rare 
occasions is a wife captured from another tribe, and carried 

^ Alcedo-Thompson, 'Dictionary of America and the West Indies,' 
vol. i. p. 416. Smith, ' The Araucanians,' p. 215. 

^ Wallace, * Travels on the Amazon,' p. 497. v. Martius, loc, ciL voL i. 
p. 600. 

' King and Fitzroy, loc, cit, vol. ii. p. 182. Hyades, in 'Bull. See. 
d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. voL x. p. 334. 

* Andersson, * The Okavango River,' p. 143. 

* Conder, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst,' vol. xvi. p. 83. 

* Krapf, loc, cit. p. 354. 

^ Johnston, loc, ciL pp. 431, 436, et seq. 

® Kiimes, * Sketches of the History of Man,' vol. i. p. 449. 

® Parkyns, loc. cit, vol. ii. pp. 55, et seq, 
1° Macdonald, * Africana,' vol. i. p. 1 33. 

** Cf, Hodgson, ' Reminiscences of Australia,' p. 243 ; Angas, ' Savage 
Life,* vol. ii. pp. 225, et seq, 
*2 Fison and Howitt, loc, cit, p. 343. 


off.^ The possession of a stolen woman would lead to con- 
stant attacks, hence the tribes set themselves very generally 
against the practice.* Even elopements, according to Mr. 
Mathew, are now usually more fictitious than real ; * but 
there are strong reasons for believing that formerly, when 
the continent was only partially occupied, elopements from 
within the tribe frequently occurred.* 

In Tasmania, the capture of women for wives from hostile 
and alien tribes was generally prevalent.^ Among the Maoris, 
the ancient and most general way of obtaining a wife was for 
the man to get together a party of his friends and carry off 
the woman by force, apparent or actual.® A similar practice 
occurs on the larger islands of the Fiji Group,^ in Samoa,® 
Tukopia,* New Guinea,^® and extremely frequently in the 
Indian Archipelago," and among the wild tribes of India." 
Among the Arabs,^ Tartars,^* and other peoples of Central 
Asia, as also in European Russia,^^ traces of capture occur in 

^ Curr, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 108. Cf, Taplin, loc. cit p. 10 ; Palmer, in 
'Jour. Anthr. Inst,' voL xiii. p. 301. * Curr, vol. i. p. 108. 

' Mathew, in * Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,' voL xxiii. p. 407. 

* Curr, vol. i. p. 108. For marriage by capture among the Australians, 
cf. also Montgomery, loc. cit, vol. ii. pp. 153, et seq, ; Oldfield, in ' Trans. 
Ethn. Soc.,' N. S. voL iii. p. 250 ; Sturt, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 283 ; Waitz- 
Gerland, loc. cit, vol. vi. p. 773. 

* Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi. p. 813. • Taylor, loc, cit, p. 336. 

7 Williams and Calvert, loc. cit, p. 149. ® Wilkes, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 138. 

* Waltz- Gerland, vol. v. pt. ii. p. 191. 

^^ Bink, in * Bull. Soc. d'Anthr.,' ser. iii. vol. xi. p. 396. 

" Wilken, in * Bijdragen,' &c., ser. v. vol. i. p. 183. Riedel, loc, cit, pp. 
69, 133, 415. 

^ Bodo, Hos, Mundas, Kiirmis (Dalton, loc. cit, pp. 86, 192, 194, 319), 
Bhils, Kittis, Ordons (Rowney, loc. cit. pp. 37, 46, 81), Gonds (Forsyth, 
/oc, cit, pp. 149, et seg.), Chittagong Hill tribes (Lewin, loc. cit. p. 92), 
Sowrahs (Shortt, * The Hill Ranges of Southern India,' vol. iii. p. 37). 

^ Burckhardt, loc. cit. pp. 61, 62, 150, 153. According to Professor 
Robertson Smith (loc. at. p. 72), instances of marriage by capture might 
be accumulated to an indefinite extent from Arabian history and tradition. 
At the time of Mohammed the practice was universal. 

^* Hue, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 185. 

^ Kirghiz (Atkinson, * Travels in the Regions of the Upper and Lower 
Amoor,' pp. 250, et seq,\ Chulims (Georgi, loc. cit. p. 231), Mordvins 
(Mainoff, ' Mordvankansan haatapoja'). 

C C 


the marriage ceremony, whilst the Tangutans,^ Samoyedes* 
Votyaks,* &c,* are still in the habit of stealing wives, or elope 
with their sweethearts, if the bridegroom cannot afford to pay 
the fixed purchase-sum. Among the Laplanders,* Esthonians,* 
and Finns/ marriage by capture occurred in former days, and 
in some parts of Finland symbolical traces of it in the 
marriage ceremony have been found in modem times.* 

The same practice prevailed among the peoples of the 
Aryan race. According to the * Laws of Manu,' one of the 
eight legal forms of the marriage ceremony was the Rcikshasa 
rite, /.^., " the forcible abduction of a maiden from her home, 
while she cries out and weeps, after her kinsmen have been 
slain or wounded, and their houses broken open." This rite 
was permitted for the Kshatriyas by the sacred tradition.* 
According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, marriage by capture 
was at one time customary throughout ancient Greece ; ^ and, 
as Plutarch informs us, it was retained by the Spartans as an 
important symbol in the marriage ceremony. ^^ Even now, ac- 
cording to Sakellarios, capture of wives occasionally occurs in 
Greece.^ Among the Romans, the bride fled to the lap of her 
mother, and was carried off by force by the bridegroom and 
his friends.^^ In the historical age this was a ceremony only, 
but at an earlier time the capture seems to have been a 
reality. " Les premiers Romains," says M. Ortolan, " d'apr^ 
leurs traditions hdrolques, ont 6t6 obliges de recourir k la sur- 

* Prejevalsky, * Mongolia,' vol. ii. p. 121. 

* Gastrin, ioc. cit, vol. ii. p. 168. ' Buch, loc, cit. p. 62. 

* Teptyars, Tartars of Crimea (Vamb^ry, * Das Tiirkenvolk,' pp. 523, 
541), Ostyaks (Gastrin, vol. ii. p. 57), Cheremises, Voguls (Gcorgi, 
loc, cit pp. 56, 67). * V. Duben, loc, cit, pp. 200, 310. 

* Willigerod, ' Geschichte Ehstlands,' p. 9. v. Schroeder, ^^ . cit p. 19. 
^ ' Kanteletar,' book iii. song 22. Topelius, ^ De mode raatrimoiua 

jungendi apud Fennos quondam vigente,' pp. 28-30. Gastr^i, in ^ Lit- 
terara Soir^r/ 1849, p. 13. 

* 'Tidningar utgifhe af et Sallskap i Abo,' 1778, no. 148. Heikd, in 
' Helsingfors Dagblad,' 1881, nos. 66, 91. Ahlqvist, * Kulturw6rter,' p. 204. 

* * The Laws of Manu/ book iii. w. 33, 26. 

^^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, ' P»/iauc^ dpxcuoXcyioy' book ii. eh. xxx. 
{ 5. " Plutarch, * Auncowpyos,' ch. xr. 

*• v. Zmigrodzki, ioc. cit, p. 250. ^ Rossbach, loc, cit, p. 329. 


prise et i la force pour enlever leurs premieres femmes."^ 
The ancient Teutons frequently captured women for wives.* 
Speaking of the Scandinavian nations, Olaus Magnus says 
that they were continually at war with one another, " propter 
raptas virgines aut arripiendas."^ Among the Welsh, on the 
morning of the wedding-day, the bridegroom, accompanied 
by his friends on horseback, carried off the bride.* The Slavs 
in early times, according to Nestor, practised marriage by 
capture ;* and in the marriage ceremonies of the Russians and 
other Slavonian nations, reminiscences of this custom still 
survive.® Indeed, among the South Slavonians, capture de 
facto was in full force no longer ago than the beginning of the 
■present century. "^ According to Olaus Magnus, it prevailed 
in Muscovy, Lithuania, and Livonia \^ and, according to 
Seignior de Gaya, the symbol of it occurred in his time in 
Poland, Prussia, and Samogithia.* 

The list of peoples among whom marriage by capture 
occurs, either as a reality or as a symbol, might easily be en- 
larged.^^ There are peoples, however, who seem to have nothing 
of the kind. As regards the Chinese, Mr. Jamieson says, " Of 
the capture of wives there is, as far as I am aware, historically 
no trace, nor is the form to be found among any of the cere- 
monies of marriage with which I am acquainted."^^ Moreover, 

* Ortolan, * Histoire de la legislation romaine,' p. 81. 

* Dargun, loc, ciU pp. 1 1 1-140. Cf, Grimm, loc, ctt. p. 440 ; NordstrSm, 
loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 12 ; Weinhold, * Deutsche Frauen,' vol. i. pp. 308-310. 

' Olaus Magnus, ^ Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus/ book x. 
ch. ii. p. 328. » 

* Kames, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 450. Cf. Lewis, loc, cit, p. 197. 

* Macieiowski, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 189. 

* Ibid.^ vol. ii. p. 190. * Globus,* vol. v. p. 317. Kulischer, ' Inter- 
conmiunale Ehe durch Raub und Kauf,' in ' Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. x. 
pp. 206-208. Kovalevsky, in ' Folk- Lore,' vol. i, pp. 476, et seq. 

7 Krauss, loc. cit. ch. xiv. 

" Olaus Magnus, book xiv. ch. ix. pp. 481, et seq. 

* de Gaya, ' Marriage Ceremonies,' p. 45. 

^0 Cf. the works of McLennan, Tylor, Lubbock, Post, and Dargun, and 
the essays of Kulischer (in ' Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. x.) and Kohler 
('Studien uber Frauengemeinschaft, Frauenraub und Frauenkauf,' in 
* Zeitschr. f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,* vol. v. pp. 334-368). 

*^ Jamieson, in * The China Review,' vol. x. p. 95. 

C C 2 


it is doubtful whether the ceremonies given as instances of 
symbolical capture are, in every case, survivals of capture 
de factOy in the real sense of the term, that is, taking the 
woman against not only her own will, but that of her parents. 
Mr. Spencer suggests that one origin of the form of capture 
may be the resistance of the pursued woman, due to coyness, 
partly real and partly assumed ;^ and, though this su^estion 
has been much attacked, it can scarcely be disproved. On 
the East Coast of Greenland, according to Dr. Nansen, the 
only method of contracting a marriage is still for the man to 
go to the girl's tent, catch her by the hair or anything else 
which offers a hold, and drag her off to his dwelling without 
further ado. Violent scenes are often the result, as single 
women always affect the utmost bashfulness and aversion to 
any proposal of marriage, lest they should lose their reputation 
for modesty. But " the woman's relations meanwhile stand 
quietly looking on, as the struggle is considered a purely 
private affair, and the natural desire of the Greenlander to 
stand on a good footing with his neighbour prevents him from 
attempting any interference with another's business."* Again, 
according to Mr. Abercromby, marriage with capture — by 
which he understands capture of a bride, associated with 
some other form of marriage, such as that by purchase — 
may be regarded rather as a result of the innate universal 
desire to display courage, than as a survival of a still older 
practice of taking women captive in time of war.^ 

Mr. McLennan thinks that marriage by capture arose from 
the rule of exogamy. But there are peoples — the Maoris, 
Ahts, &c. — among whom this practice occurs or has remained 
as a symbol, who are, nevertheless, what Mr. McLennan 
would call endogamous. We are not entitled to say that, 
" wherever exogamy can be found, we may confidently 
expect to find, after due investigation, at least traces of a 
system of capture."* On reckoning up the peoples among 

^ Spencer, * The Principles of Sociologfy,' vol. i. pp. 623, et seq. Idem, 
in * The Fortnightly Review,' vol. xxi. pp. 897, et seq, 

* Nansen, loc, cit. vol. ii. pp. 316, ^/ seq, 

' Abercromby, ' Marriage Customs of the Mordvins,* in ' Folk-Lore,* 
vol. i. p. 454. * McLennan, ' Studies/ pp. 74, et seq. 


whom the combination of capture and exogamy is met with, 
Dr. Tylor observed that the number, " though enough to show 
that they co-exist freely, falls short of what would justify the 
inference that they are cause and effect."^ 

It seems to me extremely probable that the practice of 
capturing women for wives is due chiefly to the aversion to 
close intermarriage — existing, as we have seen, among endo- 
gamous tribes also, — together with the difficulty a savage 
man has in procuring a wife in a friendly manner, without 
giving compensation for the loss he inflicts on her father. 
Being something quite different from the wrestling for wives, 
already mentioned as the most primitive method of court- 
ship, marriage by capture flourished at that stage of social 
growth when family ties had become stronger, and man lived 
in small groups of nearly related persons, but when the idea 
of barter had scarcely occurred to his mind.* From the 
universality of the horror of incest, and from the fact that 
primitive hordes were in a chronic state of warfare with one 
another, the general prevalence of this custom may be easily 
explained. But as it is impossible to believe that there ever 
was a time when friendly negotiations between families who 
could intermarry were altogether unknown, we cannot sup- 
pose that capture was at any period the exclusive form of 
contracting marriage, although it may have been the normal 
form. In Australia, where marriage by capture takes place 
between members of hostile communities only,* we are aware 
of no tribe — exogamous or endogamous — living in a state of 
absolute isolation. On the contrary, every tribe entertains 
constant relations, for the most part amicable, with one, two, 
or more tribes ; and marriages between their members are the 
rule.* Moreover, the custom, prevalent among many savage 
tribes, of a husband taking up his abode in his wife's family 
seems to have arisen very early in man's history. And Dr. 

* Tylor, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. p. 265. 

' In many cases, however, capture takes place merely because the man 
wishes to lower the price of the bride or to avoid payment {ff, Aber- 
cromby, in * Folk-Lore,' vol. i. pp. 453, et seq,) 

* Mathew, in ' Jour. Roy. Soc. N. S. Wales,' vol. xxiii. p. 407. 

* Curr, he cit. vol. i. pp. 62, et seq. 


Tylor's schedules show that there are in diflFerent parts of 
the world even twelve or thirteen well-marked exogamous 
peoples among whom this habit occurs.^ 

As appears from the instances quoted, the practice of 
capturing wives is, in the main, a thing of the past Among 
most existing uncivilized peoples a man has, in some way or 
other, to give compensation for his bride.* Marriage by 
capture has been succeeded by marriage by purchase. 

The simplest way of purchasing a wife is no doubt to pve 
a kinswoman in exchange for her. " The Australian male,** 
says Mr. Curr, " almost invariably obtains his wife or wives, 
either as the survivor of a married brother, or in exchange 
for his sisters, or later on in life for his daughters."' A 
similar exchange is sometimes effected in 'Sumatra.* 

Much more common is the custom of obtaining a wife 
by services rendered to her father. The man goes to live 
with the family of the girl for a certain time, during 
which he works as a servant. This practice, with which 
Hebrew tradition has familiarized us, is widely diffused 
among the uncivilized races of America,* Africa,* Asia,'^ and 

* Tylor, in 'Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xviii. p. 266. 

^ It is hard to understand how Herr Kulischer can have persuaded 
himself that marriage by purchase, as he says in an essay especially 
devoted to this question, ' kann nur bei sehr wenigen der jetzt lebenden 
Wilden aufgefunden werden ' (Kulischer, in * Zeitschr. f. EthnoL,' voL x. 
p. 219). 

' Curr, loc» ciL vol. i. p. 107. Cf. Fison and Howitt, loc. dL pp. 276, 
285, 343 ; Taplin, loc. ciU p. 10 ; Angas, * Savage Life/ vol. L p. 94 ; 
B rough Smyth, loc, cit. vol. i. pp. 79, 84 ; Lumholtz, loc, cit p. 164. 

^ Marsden, loc, cit, p. 259. 

* Aleuts (Dall, loc, cit, p. 402), Kaniagmuts (Lisiansky, loc. cit, p. 198), 
Kenai (Richardson, loc, cit. vol. i. pp. 406, et seq,)y Naudowessies (Carver, 
loc. cit, p. 373), Arawaks (Brett, loc. cit. p. loi), Quito Indians (Juan and 
de Ulloa, loc. cit. p. 521), Brazilian aborigines (v. Martius, loc, dt, voL i. 
pp. 107, et seq.), Fuegians (King and Fitzroy, loc, cit. vol. ii. p. 182. 
Bridges, in ' A Voice for South America,' vol. xiii. p. 201). 

® Bushmans (Chapman, loc, cit. vol i. p. 259), Zulus (* Das Ausland/ 
1881, p. 48), Basutos (Casalis, loc. cit. p. 183), Banyai (Bastian, ' Rechts- 
verhaltnisse,' p. 175), &c. (Post, * Afrikanische Junsprudenz,' vol. i. pp. 
378, et seq.). 

7 Nagas of Upper Assam, Kukis, Limbus and Kirantis, Tipperahs 



the Indian Archipelago.^ Often it is only those men who are 
too poor to pay cash that serve in the father-in-law's house 
till they have given an equivalent in labour ; but sometimes 
not even money can save the bridegroom from this sort of 
servitude.* In some cases he has to serve his time before he 
is allowed to marry the girl ; in others he gets her in advance. 
Again, among several peoples, already mentioned, the man 
goes over to the woman's family or tribe to live there for 
ever ; but Dr. Starcke suggests that this custom has a dif- 
ferent origin from the other, being an expression of the strong 
clan sentiment, and not a question of gain.^ 

According to Mr. Spencer, the obtaining of wives by 
services rendered, instead of by property paid, constitutes 
a higher form of marriage, and is developed along with the 
industrial type of society. "This modification," he says, 
"practicable with difficulty among rude predatory tribes, 
becomes more practicable as there arise established indus- 
tries affording spheres in which services may be rendered."* 
But it should be noticed that, even at a very low stage of civili- 
zation, a man may help his father-in-law in fishing and hunting, 
whilst industrial work promotes accumulation of property, 
and consequently makes it easier for the man to acquire his 
wife by real purchase. We find also the practice of serving 
for wives prevalent among such rude races as the Fuegians and 
the Bushmans ; and, in the ' Eyrbyggja Saga,' Vlgstyr says to 
the berserk Halli, who asked for the hand of his daughter 

(Dalton, loc, cit, pp. 41, 47, 104, no), Gonds and Korkds (Forsyth, loc. cit, 
pp. 148, et seq.)y Bodo and Dhimdls (Hodgson, in * Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' 
vol. xviii. pt. ii. p. 735), Bhils (Hay, * The Ttiran Mall Hill,' ibid,^ vol. xx. 
p. 507), Mrtis (Lewin, loc, cit. p. 234), Lepchas (Hooker, loc, cit, voL i. p. 125), 
Gypsies (Liebich, loc. cit, p. 46), Barabinzes, Koriaks (Georgi, loc, cit, pp. 
195, 348), Tunguses, Ainos (Dall, loc, cit, pp. 519, 524), Kamchadales 
(Steller, loc, cit. p. 343), aboriginal tribes of China (Gray, loc. cit. vol. ii. 

p. 304). 

* Dyaks (Bock, 'The Head-Hunters of Borneo,' p. 221), Tagalas and 
Bisayans of the Philippines (Blumentritt, loc. cit, p. 14. Jagor, loc, cit, 
p. 235) ; also in New Britain (Ropiilly, in * Proc. Roy. Geo. Soc.,' N. S. 
vol. ix. p. 8). 

* Steller, p. 343 (Kamchadales). Jagor, p. 235 (Bisayans). 

* Starcke, loc. cit, p. 39. 

* Spencer, ' The Principljeg of Sociology,' vol. i. p. 721. 


Asdt, '' As you are a poor man, I shall do as the ancients did 
and let you deserve your marriage by hard work."^ It seems, 
then, almost probable that marriage by services is a more 
archaic form than marriage by purchase ; but generally they 
occur simultaneously. 

The most common compensation for a bride is property 
paid to her owner. Her price varies indefinitely. A pretty, 
healthy, and able-bodied girl commands of course a better 
price than one who is ugly and weak f a girl of rank, a better 
price than one who is mean and poor f a virgin, generally a 
better than a widow or a repudiated wife.* Among the 
Californian Karok, for instance, a wife is seldom purchased 
for less than half a string of dental ium shell, but " when she 
belongs to an aristocratic family, is pretty, and skilful in 
making acorn-bread and weaving baskets, she sometimes costs 
as high as two strings."^ The bride-price, however, varies 
most according to the circumstances of the parties, and 
according to the value set on female labour. In British 
Columbia and Vancouver Island, the value of the articles 
given for the bride ranges from ;^20 to £^o sterling.* The 
Indians of Oregon buy their wives for horses, blankets, or 
buffalo robes.^ Among the Shastika in California, " a wife is 
purchased of her father for shell-money or horses, ten or 
twelve cayuse ponies being paid for a maid of great attrac- 
tions."® Again, the Navajos of New Mexico consider twelve 
horses so exorbitant a price for a wife, that it is paid only for 

* Weinhold, * Altnordisches Leben,* p. 242. 

* V. Weber, loc, cit. vol. ii. pp. 215, et seq, (Kafirs). Dalton, loc. cit. 
p. 43 (Nagas). Borheck, * Erdbeschreiburg von Asien,' vol. i. p. 540 
(Tartars of Kazan). Landsdell, loc, dL vol. ii. p. 225 (Gilyaks). 

^ Sproat, loc, cit. p. 97 (Ahts). Shooter, loc. cit. p. 50 (Kafirs). Nach- 
tigal, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 448 (TedA) ; vol. ii. p. 177 (Baele). Munzinger, 
loc. cit. p. 240 (Marea). Burckhardt, loc. cit. p. 62 (Arabs of Syria). 
Georgi, loc. cit. p. 431 (Buriats). Neumann, ' Russland und die Tscher- 
kessen,'p. 117 (Circassians). Rowlatt, in *Jour. As. Soc. Bengal,' voLxiv. 
pt. ii. p. 488 (Mishmis). Hickson, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xvi. p. 139 
(Talauer Islanders). Wilkes, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 138 (Samoans). Kotzebue, 
loc. cit. vol. iii. p. 210 (Caroline Islanders). 

* Post, * Die Anfange des Staats- und Rechtsleben,' pp. 41, et seq. 

* Powers, loc. cit. p. 22. ® Macfie, loc. cit. p. 446. 
' Schoolcraft, loc. cit. vol. v. p. 654. ® Powers, p. 247. 


" one possessing unusual qualifications, such as beauty, in- 
dustry, and skill in their necessary employments ; "^ and the 
Patagonians give mares, horses, or silver ornaments for the 

In Africa, not horses but cattle are considered the most 
proper equivalent for a good wife. Among the Kafirs, three, 
five, or ten cows are a low price, twenty or thirty a rather 
high ; but, according to Barrow, a man frequently obtained a 
wife for an ox or a couple of cows.* The Damaras are so 
poor a people that they are often glad to take one cow for 
a daughter.* Among the Banyai, many heads of cattle or 
goats are given to induce the parents of the girl " to give her 
up," as it is termed, />., to forego all claim on her offspring, 
for if nothing is given, the family from which she comes can 
claim the children as part of itself.* In Uganda, the ordinary 
price of a wife is either three or four bullocks, six sewing 
needles, or a small box of percussion caps, but Mr. Wilson 
was often offered one in exchange for a coat or a pair of 
shoes.^ In the Mangoni country, two skins of a buck are 
considered a fair price,^ and among the Negroes of Bondo, a 
goat f whereas, among the Mandingoes, as we are told by 
Cailli6, no wife is to be had otherwise than by the presenta- 
tion of slaves to the parents of the mistress.® 

The Chulims paid from five to fifty roubles for a wife, the 
Turalinzes usually from five to ten.^® Rich Bashkirs pay some- 
times even 3,000 roubles, but the poorest may buy a wife for 
a cart-load of wood or hay.^^ In Tartary, parents sell a 
daughter for some horses, oxen, sheep, or pounds of butter ; 
among the Samoyedes and Ostyaks, for a certain number of 

^ Schoolcraft, Uc, cit vol. i v. p. 214. Cf, Letherman, * Sketch of the 
Navajo Tribe of Indians,' in * Smith. Rep.,' 1855, p. 294. 

* Musters, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. i. p. 201. Falkner, loc. cit p. 124. 
Cf, Lewis and Clarke, ioc, cit. p. 307 (Shoshones) ; Dobrizhoffer, loc. cit. 
vol. ii. p. 207 (Abipones). 

* V. Weber, loc. cit. vol. ii. p. 215. Barrow, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 206. 

* Chapman, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 341. ^ Livingstone, loc, cit. p. 623. 
® Wilson and Felkin, loc, cit. vol. i. p. 187. 

^ Macdonald, 'Africana/ vol. i. p. 133. » *Das Ausland,' i88i,p. 1026. 

* Cailli^, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 348. ^^ Georgi, loc. cit. pp. 231, 114. 
" Vdmb^ry, ' Das Turkenvolk,' p. 505. 


reindeer.^ Among the Indian Kisdns, " two baskets of rice 
and a rupee in cash constitute the compensatory offering 
given to the parents of the girl."* Among the Mishmis, a 
rich man gives for a wife twenty mithuns (a kind of oxen), 
but a poor man can get a wife for a pig.* In Timor-laut, 
according to Mr. Forbes, " no wife can be purchased without 
elephants' tusks."* In the Caroline Islands, " the man makes 
a present to the father of the girl whom he marries, consist- 
ing of fruits, fish, and similar things ;"* in Samoa, the bride- 
price Included canoes, pigs, and foreign property of any kind 
which might fall into their hands f and, among the Fijians, 
* the usual price is a whale's tooth, or a musket."^ 

Among some peoples marriage may take place on credit, 
though, generally, the wife and her children cannot leave the 
parental home until the price is paid in full.® In Unyoro, 
according to Emin Pasha, when a poor man is unable to pro- 
cure the cattle required for his marriage at once, he may, by 
agreement with the bride's father, pay them by instalments ; 
the children, however, born in the meantime belong to the 
wife's father, and each of them must be redeemed with a 

Marriage by exchange or purchase is not only generally 
prevalent among existing lower races ; it occurs, or formerly 
occurred, among civilized nations as well. In Central 
America and Peru, a man had to serve for his bride.^® In 
China, a present is given by the father of the suitor, the 
amount of which is not left to the goodwill of the parties, as 
the term " present " would suggest, but is exactly stipulated 

* Hue, ioc, cit. voL i. p. 185. * Ymer,* vol. iii. p. 144. Geoigi, loc. cU. 
p. 79. • Dalton, loc, cit, p. 132. 

3 Griffith, * Journals of Travels,' p. 35. 

* Forbes, in * Jour. Anthr. Inst.,' vol. xiii. p. 11. 
^ Kotzebue, loc, cit, vol. iii. p. 21a 

® Turner, * Samoa,' p. 93. ^ Wilkes, loc, cit. vol. iii. p. 92. 

* Yurok, Patwin (Powers, loc, cit. pp. 56, 221), Wakamba (Hildebrandt, 
in * Zeitschr. f. Ethnol.,' vol. x. p. 401), Bedouins of Mount Sinai (Burck- 
hardt, loc, cit. p. 152), Mishmis (Cooper, loc. cit. pp. 236, et seq^^ Lepchas 
(Rowney, loc. cit. p. 139), Papuans of New Guinea (Kohler, in ' Zeitschr. 
f. vgl. Rechtswiss.,' vol. vii. p. 371). 

^ ' Emin Pasha in Central Africa/ p. 86. 
1* Waitz, loc. cit. vol. iv. pp. 266, 307, 416. 

m ' * ». ' >m0i trmf^ 'TS a t , m iwBWfc^cSiiMMfcMJMfci 


for by the negotiators of the marriage ; hence, as Mr. 
Jamieson remarks, it is no doubt a survival of the time when 
the transaction was one of ordinary bargain.^ In Japan, the 
proposed husband sends certain prescribed presents to his 
future bride, and this sending of presents forms one of the 
most important parts of the marriage ceremony. In fact, 
when once the presents have been sent and accepted, the con- 
tract is completed, and neither party can retract. Mr. Kiichler 
says he has been unable to find out the exact meaning of 
these presents : the native books on marriage are silent on 
the subject, and the Japanese themselves have no other ex- 
planation to give than that the custom has been handed down 
from ancient times.^ But from the facts recorded in the next 
chapter it is evident that the sending of presents is a relic of 
a previous custom of marrying by purchase. 

In all branches of the Semitic race men had to buy or 
serve for their wives, the "mohar " or "mahr " being originally 
the same as a purchase-sum.^ In the Books of Ruth and \ 
Hosea, the bridegroom actually says that he has .bought the 
bride ;* and the modern Jews, according to Michaelis, have a 
sham purchase among their marriage ceremonies, which is 
called " marrying by the penny."*^ In Mohammedan countries 
marriage differs but little from a real purchase.* The same 
custom prevailed among the Chaldeans, Babylonians,^ and 

Speaking of the ancient Finns, the Finnish philologist and 
traveller, Gastrin, remarks, " There are many reasons for 
believing that a cap full of silver and gold was one of the 

* Gray, loc. cit. vol. i. p. 193. Jamieson, in * The China Review,' vol. x. 
p. ^%y note ♦. 

* Kiichler, in ' Trans. As. Soc Japan,' vol. xiii. p. 120. 

^ Robertson Smith, loc, cit, pp. 78, et seq, Ewald, loc. cit, p. 200. 
Gans, loc, cit, vol. i. p. 128. 

* ' Ruth,' ch. iv. V. 10. * Hosea,* ch. iii. v. 2. 

* Michaelis, ' Commentaries on the Laws of Moses,' vol. i. p. 451. 

^ Luttke, * Der Islam,' p. 1 19. Wamkoenig, * Juristische Encyclopadie,' 
p. 167. Unger, * Die Ehe in ihrer welthistorischen Entwicklung,' pp. 46, 
et seq, ^ Herodotus, loc. cit, book i. ch. 196. 

' Koenigswarter, ' Etudes historfques sur le d^veloppement de la soci^td 
humaine,' p. 22. 


best proxies in wooing among our ancestors."' Evident 
traces of marriage by purchase are, indeed, found in the * Kale- 
vala * and the * Kanteletar* ;* and, in parts of Finland, symbok 
of it are still left in the marriage ceremony.* Among the East 
Finnish peoples, marriage by purchase exists even now, or 
did so till quite lately.* 

Among the Aryan nations, too, marriage was based on the 
purchase of the wife. The Hindu bride, in Vedic times, 
had to be won by rich presents to the future father-in-law ;* 
and one of the eight forms of marriage mentioned, though 
disapproved of, by Manu — the Asura form — was marriage by 
purchase. Acc